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Tyler Bertuzzi’s best spot appears to be on the Bruins’ third line

“He sees the ice really well,” Trent Frederic said of new teammate Tyler Bertuzzi (center). “He’s helping me a lot, the way he plays.”JOHN WOODS/Associated Press

ST. PAUL — During last weekend’s home-and-home with Detroit, Tyler Bertuzzi rode with David Krejci and David Pastrnak (Saturday) and Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand (Sunday). That may be a one-off.

Bruins coach Jim Montgomery likes to pour different chemicals into his laboratory test tubes, especially when injuries dictate (Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno remain missing in action). He wanted to see what kind of reaction Bertuzzi’s game — strong on the walls, soft hands, good timing and vision — would have with those flammable pairs.

While neither of those lines scored with Bertuzzi on them, they both controlled shot attempts by healthy margins. Montgomery may have already had the right mix, however, with Bertuzzi to the left of Trent Frederic and Charlie Coyle.


“That line’s been really good,” Montgomery said after Thursday’s 3-0 win at Winnipeg. “I just tried something different, and was probably overcoaching, when I took him off that line.”

They have three goals in four games together, with one allowed. On Thursday, Frederic scored off a smart feed from Bertuzzi, who also set up Coyle in a similar fashion two weeks earlier against the Rangers. In a loss to the Blackhawks, Bertuzzi won a battle and delivered a sharp feed for a Frederic tap-in. Coyle’s strength on the puck has been drawing double teams, like the one that freed his mates and helped them make it 1-0 in the first minute against the Jets.

They’re producing while still finding their own chemistry, too. On Thursday, Frederic and Bertuzzi missed a few short connections that, if made, would have put the Bruins in odd-man situations.

“He sees the ice really well,” Frederic said. “He’s helping me a lot, the way he plays. Just for chances, we could have had a couple more that we just barely missed on. Chuck’s the same way. He sees it really well on that first play, just simple.”


Frederic already has career-high numbers (15-11–26 in 64 games) and has been a tough matchup on the third line.

“Freddy’s offensive confidence has really grown,” Montgomery said. “I think he knows he can score in this league. He finds those soft pockets in the offensive zone, supporting guys that like to handle the puck down low, like Coyle and Bertuzzi. He’s a really good 200-foot player.”

Foot fells Forbort

Derek Forbort, who left Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg in a walking boot, received a second round of X-rays on his right foot. Montgomery didn’t have a status update on the puck-eating defenseman, who took a Neal Pionk wrister off the inside of the foot.

Unfortunate developments for Forbort, who hails from Duluth, and the local fans who wanted to see him play in the Wild’s building. Duluth is about two hours north of here. Forbort also will miss Sunday’s game in Buffalo.

The Bruins certainly will miss Forbort on the penalty kill. He leads the league’s best PK (85.7 percent) in ice time, and ranks 10th among all players averaging 3:08. His shutdown partner, Brandon Carlo, is right behind (3:05).

In Forbort’s 13 missed games, the Bruins are 76.5 percent on the kill. With him in the lineup, they are cooking at 87.5 percent.

Montgomery said Dmitry Orlov, who has played a secondary PK role for most of his career, will help ease the burden, and it will be important for other defensemen to “get comfortable starting the PK.”


Old friends

Standing outside the Jets dressing room chatting with an acquaintance before Thursday’s puck drop, Rick Bowness had one more pregame stop to make: He was going to see Montgomery.

Bowness, 68, is 15 years older than Montgomery, but the two are tight. Bowness, who coached the Bruins in 1991-92, was an assistant under Montgomery in Dallas, and took over for him when the Stars fired the second-year coach in December 2019.

Montgomery credits Bowness for teaching him so much about the league: how to handle pro players; how to guide a team through the NHL schedule of practices, travel, and games; how to carry oneself as a coach at that level.

Rick Bowness, who now works behind the Winnipeg bench, went 36-32-12 as Bruins coach in 1991-92.Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press

“I’m very proud of him, and I’m very, very happy for him and his family that he was given another opportunity,” Bowness said. “I was so happy when St. Louis hired him.

“He’s a great coach, obviously. Works hard. Meticulous. Knows the game. I’m proud of him for what he’s done.”

Shut out so far

Strange but true: The shorty king, Marchand, remains stuck on zero shorthanded goals this season. The Bruins’ franchise leader in SHGs (33) struck at least once in 12 of his 13 previous seasons, the only outlier being his 20-game audition in 2009-10. Marchand’s next shorty ties him with Pavel Bure, Marian Hossa, and Bruins legend Derek Sanderson for 11th all-time … Montgomery confirmed that the energetic Jakub Lauko will draw back in against the Wild … The coach did not name a starter in goal … With Forbort out, Connor Clifton also will return … A good Marchand crack from the latest episode of “Behind the B,” during the segment introducing Bertuzzi to the fold: “I love everyone in the league,” Marchand said, grinning as the newcomer made his way around the weight room. “All the guys I hate are now on our team.”


Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.