One luxury that the Boston Bruins have as the 2022-23 regular season enters the final stages is a lead in the standings that allows them to be flexible. How flexible? Very actually, as they will finish first in the Atlantic Division and lead the Carolina Hurricanes by nine points in the race for the home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
What that allows first-year coach Jim Montgomery to do is tinker with his lineup, try different combinations, and even give some veterans and other players some time off before the postseason. Rest would be in the mix for several players, but here are five that would benefit from missing a game or two to be fully ready for the grind that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
There are two players that are at the top of the list that would benefit from some time off and the first one is Patrice Bergeron. The captain is once again playing at a Selke Trophy level and still producing at a high level. In 65 games, he has 24 goals and 25 assists, but it’s his play in all situations that have been key to the Black and Gold.
With David Krejci returning this season, giving Bergeron some nights off for rest will be a lot easier for the lineup to adjust. Krejci can slide up to the top spot on the first line and he has a history of playing with Jake DeBrusk a few years ago. There wouldn’t be much of a drop-off and Krejci is more than capable of letting his longtime teammate watch a game or two from the press box.
There were questions surrounding Krejci’s return to the Bruins this season and whether he would still be able to be as productive as he was before leaving in the summer of 2021 to return home to his home country of Czechia to continue his career. As expected, he has made the seamless transition back to the NHL, but like Bergeron, he’s going to need some time off to recharge the batteries for the playoffs.
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This season he has formed a strong connection on the second line with David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha, creating a line that a lot of teams would like to have as their first line. In 60 games, he has 13 goals and 38 assists, but his assist numbers have gone up playing with Pastrnak on a nightly basis, however, giving the 36-year-old time off will be easy as Zacha can slide into the middle in his place. Recently, he looks like…