3 Bruins who should be benched for Game 7 against the Maple Leafs

Boston coach Jim Montgomery is facing some tough decisions for his Game 7 lineup, but these players should not be on the ice against the Maple Leafs.
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Six
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Six / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

For the second consecutive season, the Boston Bruins are being pushed to the brink of elimination in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after holding a commanding 3-1 series lead. Last season it was the Florida Panthers who completed the stunning comeback and this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are one win away from doing the same thing.

A lot of talk over the last two games, a pair of 2-1 Maple Leafs wins, has been about Jim Montgomery and his lineup decisions. The Bruins second-year coach has made some curious ones and in Game 5, they didn’t work out. Now that the series shifts back to Boston for Game 7, there are some players that Montgomery will likely consider to play and some not. Here are three players that should not be in Boston’s lineup Saturday night.

Matt Grzelcyk

The veteran defenseman has been scratched multiple times in the last two seasons by Montgomery against the Panthers and now the Maple Leafs in the postseason. Now what does Montgomery do for Game 7 after scratching him again in Game 6, play him or sit him?

He should sit him as Mason Lohrei has played well in Game 6 and looks like someone who is getting more and more confident with each shift. In Game 6, he was second in time on ice for defensemen behind Charlie McAvoy and his ability to move the puck has been big and will be big in Game 7.

Linus Ullmark

Nothing against Linus Ullmark, but you have got this far with Jeremy Swayman and you ride it out with the former University of Maine standout. In Games 5 and 6, he stopped 55 of the 58 shots Toronto fired at him. He did his part, it was his teammates in front of him that had let him down.

Ullmark hadn’t played in 12 days by the time the puck was dropped Saturday night and as seen last season when Montgomery went to Swayman in Game 7 against Florida, he was fighting the puck a bit early on in the game and gave up a goal he’d like to have back. It’s Swayman in Game 7 and there should be very little doubt.

Justin Brazeau

If there is going to be changes to the lineup, taking out Justin Brazeau and putting Jakub Lauko in is the move to make. The speedy forward brings energy and grit to the lineup along with speed in the transition game. Nothing against Brazeau, but it might be time to give the Maple Leafs a different look in the bottom-six.

Pat Maroon is a Stanley Cup veteran who should stay in the lineup and the case could be made to sit James van Riemsdyk, but as a veteran, he is someone who has played well at times in the series. Regardless, Lauko is the move to make up front, and that all depends on the status of Danton Heinen as well.

Everything is on the table for Game 7 and both teams have a lot riding on it in terms of what coaching staffs and rosters look like going into training camp for the 2024-25 season. Lineup decisions can play a big role in a winner-take-all Game 7.