Bruins coach Jim Montgomery has had his eye on acquiring Hampus Lindholm for a long time
“Last year I was making efforts to get him to St. Louis,” Montgomery said Friday, after the club’s brief practice in Brighton, “when we were asked as a staff if we wanted him.”
Months later, Montgomery finally got his wish to work with Lindholm when he was hired here to replace him. Bruce Cassidy as head of bench. Lindholm arrived on March 22 from the Ducks, in one of the Don Sweeney’s the boldest moves since he took over as CEO. Now, under Montgomery’s tutelage, the 28-year-old Lindholm is enjoying the best offensive production of his career.
With his assist in Thursday’s 4-1 win over the Flyers, extending the Bruins’ record to 10-0-0 on Causeway Street, Lindholm improved to 4-14-18 on the season. He’s on pace for 87 points, which would be the highest total by a Boston player since then Ray Bourque posted 91 in ’93-’94 — a quantum leap over Lindholm’s peak output of 34 points in 2014-’15.
“I didn’t really study it, how they played and how they used him,” Montgomery said, reflecting on Lindholm’s long tenure with the Ducks, who drafted him No. 6 overall in the 2012 draft. “But just I know he’s an all-around defenseman that I thought, when he was in Anaheim, he had more in the tank.”
After hooking up with the Bruins over the summer, the two had a 45-minute conversation that intrigued Montgomery about what could be next for the 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound backliner.
“To hear him, he clearly loved coming to Boston,” noted Montgomery, who these days has Lindholm riding with Connor Clifton on what the club’s No. 1 offensive D pairing is. “He loved that he was in a hockey town where the fans cared about us winning and losing. He wanted to be in that environment, so I think that helped him a lot.”
Jeremy Swayman is likely to start against Chicago
In all likelihood, jeremy Swayman will get the start in net against Chicago in what would be his first action since spraining his left knee in his brief relief appearance for Linus Ullmark November 1 in Pittsburgh.
Ullmark turned away 22 Flyer shots Thursday and improved his league-leading mark to 12-1-0. As of Friday morning, Ullmark also led the NHL in goals-against average (1.89) and save percentage (.937), the latter mark in a virtual tie with those posted by Dominik Hasek with the 1998-99 Sabers when the Dominator won his fifth of six Vezina trophies.
Swayman was 2-1-0 in his four appearances when he went out with an injury.
Entering the season, Montgomery’s plan was for his two tenders to share a fairly even spread of the workload throughout the regular season, with his sights set on No. 1 down the stretch leading into the playoffs.
Jakub Zboril misses training with fever
Another that Patrice Bergeron (maintenance), defence Jakub Zboril he was the only one missing from the short training session. According to Montgomery, Zboril was excused due to illness. “He had a fever overnight,” the coach said. In all likelihood, that means the 25-year-old blueliner will sit out again on Saturday, after being scratched in favor of the veteran reserve on Thursday. Anton Stralmanwho partnered with Brandon Carlo against the Flyers… Patrick Kane, who once again leads the Hawks in scoring (2-11—13) this season, will celebrate his 34th birthday on Saturday. Buffalo-born Kane, with 1,193 career points, is on track to become an unrestricted free agent next July. If he does indeed hit the market, the Sabres, with plenty of cap money to spend, are expected to make a very aggressive offer…Bruin in the short term. Jarred Tinordi has suited up on the backline for the Hawks’ 16 games this season… An 11th straight home ice win to start the season would tie the Bruins with the Hawks’ 1963-64 league mark and the Panthers 2021-22. The Bruins, with their next two on the road (Tampa/Florida) don’t return to the Garden until Black Friday morning against the Canes… The Bruins, the league’s best PK team all season, are they placed at No. 2 place when he goes 7 for 10 in the kill during the last two games against Vancouver and Philly. The Bruins’ kill rate as of Friday morning was 90.6, down a fraction David Quinn’s #1 Sharks (92.0).
Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at [email protected].
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