Bruins lineup projections for when Hall, Foligno return from injury


The Boston Bruins have won seven of their last eight games and own the NHL's best record at 57-12-5. They've been racking up wins at a consistent pace despite being without two productive left wings in Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno.

Hall suffered a lower body injury versus the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 25 and hasn't played since. He has been skating with the team in practice wearing a non-contact jersey, so it doesn't look like he's too far away. Foligno has not returned to practice yet. He suffered a lower body injury against the Calgary Flames on Feb. 28 as a result of a collision with Nikita Zadorov. 

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It's unknown when exactly Hall and Foligno will return. When they do, head coach Jim Montgomery will have a few difficult decisions to make in regards to who moves around in the lineup and who comes out entirely. 

Here's my projection for what the lines could look like when only Hall returns, and also when both Hall and Foligno return.

With Hall and Foligno back

Brad Marchand--Patrice Bergeron--Jake DeBrusk

Pavel Zacha--David Krejci--David Pastrnak

Taylor Hall--Charlie Coyle--Tyler Bertuzzi

Nick Foligno--Tomas Nosek--Garnet Hathaway

Bertuzzi has been very good since the Bruins acquired him on March 2. He's been unlucky in regards to scoring goals, but his playmaking, physicality and versatility all have been valuable. He's been a very good fit on the third line with Charlie Coyle. It's been a tough line for opponents to play against with its aggressive forechecking and strong defensive play. Bertuzzi is a natural left wing, but he's too talented and too important to be on the fourth line. Therefore, the best option is moving him to third-line right wing with Hall and Coyle. 

Foligno has been very good as the fourth-line left wing. His 26 points this season are double his total from 2022-23 in four fewer games. His leadership on and off the ice has been key to the team's success, too. Unless he's struggling mightily offensively, he deserves a spot in the lineup. 

This lineup configuration would result in Trent Frederic being a healthy scratch. It's not fair to Frederic because he's been so good this season with career highs in goals (16) assists (12) and points (28), but you can't play everyone and someone has to sit. Frederic could still draw in based on certain matchups, injuries, etc.

The easiest call for Montgomery to make when everyone is healthy is to stick with the veterans that have been instrumental in the team's success. 

With Hall back, no Foligno yet

Brad Marchand--Patrice Bergeron--Jake DeBrusk

Pavel Zacha--David Krejci--David Pastrnak

Taylor Hall--Charlie Coyle--Tyler Bertuzzi

Trent Frederic--Tomas Nosek--Garnet Hathaway

If Foligno isn't ready for Game 1 of the playoffs, then Frederic stays in the lineup. He's been more productive offensively than A.J. Greer and Jakub Lauko. Frederic also has improved quite a bit defensively. He is a left-hand shot, so moving to left wing shouldn't be an issue for him.

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Hathaway also deserves to remain in the lineup at fourth-line right wing. He's been a fantastic pickup from the Washington Capitals. He has scored a couple clutch goals for the B's and provides a level of truculence needed to bother opponents in all three zones. He goes to the dirty areas of the ice to win puck battles and/or score goals. He's a valuable net-front presence as well. 

We could maybe see Hall, Bertuzzi, Zacha and DeBrusk move around a bit in the playoffs depending on what Montgomery sees during games. He hasn't been afraid to make in-game changes when one line or the entire team needs a spark. But for the most part, the Bruins should have a pretty good idea of which combos work and don't work.


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