Nick Goss

Bruins' depth about to be tested as injuries to key players mount

The Bruins are dealing with injuries to several key players amid a tough stretch in the schedule.

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The injury bug is hitting the Boston Bruins pretty hard right now.

Veteran defenseman Brandon Carlo was forced to leave Monday night's shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche with an upper body injury. He did not play Tuesday night when the Bruins lost in overtime to the Arizona Coyotes.

The situation worsened Tuesday when rookie center Matthew Poitras exited in the third period with an apparent shoulder injury. The most profound injury happened with 2:20 left in overtime when goalie Linus Ullmark attempted to make a save and suffered a lower body injury. He had to be helped off the ice and down the tunnel toward the locker room.

Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said before Tuesday's game in Arizona that Carlo is considered "day to day". He did not have detailed updates on Poitras or Ullmark after the loss to the Coyotes.

Losing Ullmark for a medium-to-long stretch would be a significant setback for the B's. Ullmark hasn't dominated to the extent he did last season when he won the Vezina Trophy. But the Swedish netminder has played very well in 2023-24, and over his last five games he has posted a .924 save percentage, a 2.40 GAA and an impressive .844 high-danger save percentage.

The Bruins have the best goalie tandem in the NHL, which has helped them rank sixth in goals allowed and second in save percentage. Now we'll see if Swayman can carry the load -- assuming Ullmark misses some time. Swayman hasn't started more than three games in a row since the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he played the final five games of Boston's first-round series versus the Carolina Hurricanes.

Who will be Swayman's backup if Ullmark misses games?

Brandon Bussi and Michael DiPietro of the AHL's Providence Bruins are the most likely options. Bussi had a stellar rookie campaign in 2022-23 but has taken a step back for the P-Bruins this season. He has posted a .901 save percentage and a 2.94 GAA in 20 appearances, while DiPietro has posted a .912 save percentage and a 2.63 GAA in 14 games.

Poitras' injury could result in Trent Frederic moving to center, and also Jakub Lauko or Oskar Steen getting more bottom-six minutes. Poitras has played well with 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) over the first 30 games of his pro career.

The Bruins are off Wednesday but continue their road trip Thursday against Bruce Cassidy and the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights.

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