BUFFALO — Center David Krejci and defenseman Dmitry Orlov had the afternoon off on Sunday, the veterans getting a brief respite before returning home for the final 13 games of the regular season.
According to coach Jim Montgomery, Krejci’s absence was because of “wear and tear,” while Orlov, who played 11 consecutive games after his arrival in a trade from Washington, was granted a day of rest as maintenance.
“We have a lot of games this month — we play every Saturday and Sunday, so I’d expect to see us [make similar decisions],” explained Montgomery. “We have the luxury on D. We had two extra [defensemen] for a while there … just a different rotation so we can minimize, by, say 10-15 percent, every player’s game load.”
Krejci, Montgomery made clear, was out because the 36-year-old pivot, a veteran of 1,025 regular-season games, “is banged up.”
“This is not resting him,” added the bench boss. “He’s sore. We don’t want the condition to get worse.”
Krejci looked relaxed and rested as he made his way to the team bus and flight back to Hanscom Field. He entered the day ranked No. 3 in team scoring, 14-39–53, his best offensive production since the 2018-19 season. He last left the lineup for a pair of games, Dec. 11-13, because of a lower-body injury he sustained in Arizona on Dec. 9.
Nice transition for Zboril
Jakub Zboril, filling in for Orlov, logged 18:34, only four seconds fewer than partner Connor Clifton. Other than one awkward tumble, he had an assists, looked comfortable and fit in well with the backline six pack.
“I thought he was excellent,” lauded Montgomery. “I thought he played really well. He looked like he was excited to be back out there, which you would expect, but he played with confidence — very assertive offensively and defensively.”
Zboril had played in only two games (Feb. 23 and Jan. 7) since suiting up against the Panthers the night before Thanksgiving. He moved one rung up the ladder on the depth chart last week when Derek Forbort was felled by a shot in Winnipeg.
The Bruins are expected to offer an update on Forbort Tuesday morning. Orlov is due back in the lineup that night, which could mean Zboril is back filling the silent man No. 7 spot.
“Just practice hard, and try to do the right things in practice,” said Zboril, explaining how he tries to remain sharp while on the taxi squad. “When the chance comes, be ready for it.”
The challenge to be ready is greater “mentally, for sure” than it is physically, noted Zboril, when asked more specifics about the challenge. “You know, skating … you get in different positions in the game, on the ice ... but I thought I showed I can still do it. I thought I had a good game.”
Zboril’s only other point this season came here, his game-winning goal vs. the Sabres on Nov. 12, before he was placed in double-secret hibernation.
Swayman goes back to back
Jeremy Swayman became the first Boston goaltender to post back-to-back shutouts in over a decade.
Both Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas each delivered consecutive no-nos in the 2011-12 season.
“Special, I haven’t done that before,” said Swayman, who improved to 18-6-4. “Quick memory [now]. Forget about it as soon as I leave the locker room, put myself in a position to perform next game. Again, it wouldn’t be possible without the guys taking the initiative in the defensive zone, blocking big shots, all the way to end.”
Home sweet home
Now with 13 games to go, only five on the road, the Bruins are guaranteed only short road trips through the end of the playoffs. They’ll never be gone from the Garden for more than two games.
“Yeah, it’s nice, now after today, two games [on the road] will be the most we do after this, right?” said Montgomery. “Then it will be just like that in the playoffs. So it’s nice we are going to get in more of a playoff-like schedule.”
No updates on Hall, Foligno
Taylor Hall, out since sustaining a lower-body injury in Vancouver on Feb. 25, has resumed skating in Brighton.
Nick Foligno, who wrenched a knee two nights later in Calgary, has yet to begin on-ice drills.
Montgomery continued to have little info on either of the vets.
“As far as I know, nothing, if you are referring to the two guys back at home,” he said, adopting the Sergeant Schultz approach when asked about potential roster changes. “They are not going to be options for a while.”
Hall is eligible to be recalled from LTIR prior to Tuesday’s puck drop with Ottawa. GM Don Sweeney could be weighing what cap implications would come into play if he activates the veteran winger. Once the playoffs begin, Hall’s $6 million cap hit is a nonfactor.
Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at email@example.com.