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Heinen injured; Matthews out for Leafs


Johnny Beecher and Kevin Shattenkirk are both expected back in the lineup after getting scratched for Game 5.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 20: Pontus Holmberg #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs shoves Danton Heinen #43 of the Boston Bruins in front of the net during the first period in Game One of the First Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 20, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Danton Heinen is expected to miss Game 6 due to injury. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

Jim Montgomery is largely going back to the Bruins’ lineup that won Games 3 and 4 against the Maple Leafs in Toronto, but an injury will take one middle-six forward out of the equation for Game 6 on Thursday night. 

Montgomery ruled out Danton Heinen, listing the forward as “day to day” moving forward. The writing has been on the wall for the past week that Heinen has been hampered by an injury, as the 28-year-old forward has taken a few maintenance days during this first-round series against Toronto. 

Heinen only has one assist in this series, but it was the primary helper on Brad Marchand’s game-winning tally in Game 3.

With Heinen out, Justin Brazeau will stay in the lineup and skate on a third line next to Trent Frederic and James van Riemsdyk. 

Beyond Heinen’s injury, the Bruins are rolling with a similar grouping as the one that put Toronto on the brink of elimination, with Johnny Beecher back on the fourth line and Kevin Shattenkirk replacing Matt Grzelcyk on the blue line.

Here is Boston’s projected lineup, based on Thursday’s morning skate:

Brad Marchand – Charlie Coyle – Morgan Geekie
Jake DeBrusk – Pavel Zacha – David Pastrnak
James van Riemsdyk – Trent Frederic – Justin Brazeau
Johnny Beecher – Jesper Boqvist – Pat Maroon

Mason Lohrei – Charlie McAvoy 
Brandon Carlo – Hampus Lindholm
Parker Wotherspoon – Kevin Shattenkirk

Jeremy Swayman
Linus Ullmark

Brandon Carlo dodged a bullet with the injury bug, as he took a puck up high in the closing minutes of the third period of Game 5. However, the veteran defenseman will be cleared for Thursday night without any restrictions. 

Montgomery did not tip his hand as to which goalie will get the nod in net on Thursday night, but Linus Ullmark was on the ice late with other expected scratches like Grzelcyk, Jakub Lauko and others — signaling that Jeremy Swayman will make his fourth straight start in this series. 

Swayman is 3-1 in this series against Toronto with a .952 save percentage. The 25-year-old netminder is coming off of a loss, but was still strong between the pipes in Game 5 (31 saves on 33 shots).

The Maple Leafs will once again look to keep their season alive and force Game 7 without their best player in Auston Matthews. Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe connfirmed that Matthews will miss his second straight game on Thursday night due to a lingering illness.

Even though Toronto won Game 5 without Matthews, the star center’s absence will be missed.

Matthews scored a league-best 69 goals during the regular season, and was the Leafs’ top player in their Game 2 win in Boston last week — recording three points 23:24 of ice time while adding eight shots on goal, a team-high six hits, and winning 16 of 23 face-offs.

But Matthews, who missed practices in the days following that win, was not able to carry that momentum over in Games 3 and 4 — posting zero points in both losses with a combined four shots on goal.

Puck drop for Game 6 is set for 8 p.m. in Toronto. 

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