BOSTON – The Bruins will be in search of their third straight win on Tuesday night as their homestand continues against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden. Boston is 5-1-1 over its past seven games and has re-taken the top spot in the NHL standings with 95 points (one point ahead of the Rangers and Panthers) as the stretch run intensifies.

“For us, the plan all along was when we hit March, our focus is starting to get ready for the playoffs,” said coach Jim Montgomery. “I think mentally we're getting there. I don't think we're executing on ice yet like that. But you're still dealing with the rigors of the regular season – not using that as an excuse – but you see every team in the league is dropping games or winning games that, probably, they shouldn't because of their play.

“But that's what the regular season does. It prepares you for the playoffs, but it doesn't prepare you for certain parts of the playoffs.”

Montgomery said that over the final 13 games of the regular season, he will be experimenting with different pieces throughout the lineup to find out the best fit for Game 1 of the postseason.

“It's not so much, see this guy with that guy,” said Montgomery. “We're trying to find out the lineup that's going to give us the best success. The experimenting is trying to find that lineup. And again, for me, I can't say it enough. It's you play well, you're staying in the lineup the same way we operate in the playoffs.

“We're trying to get that mentality now that when you get an opportunity to be in the lineup where there's more urgency to stay in the lineup.”

And while the Bruins are in the same position standings-wise as last year at this time, they are in a much different place when it comes to their overall approach.

"This year I find myself pushing more," said Montgomery. "Just what we want to accomplish, how we're going to accomplish it. Because we're fighting for playoff position, we're fighting for home ice…things that were already in the bag this time last year. It's easier to push, and players are more receptive because we know we need to get better. Last year, we thought, we're a well-oiled machine already.

"It’s a healthier place for everybody. It's more rewarding this year, because you have to keep pushing, so you have to work harder as a staff and the players need to work hard, because we need to continue to get better here.”

Montgomery talks ahead of BOS vs. OTT

Wait, There’s More

  • After sitting out the last two games as a healthy scratch, Kevin Shattenkirk will re-enter the lineup and play the left side on Boston’s third defense pair with Andrew Peeke.
  • Danton Heinen will, once again, shift back up to play left wing on a line with Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak. “I played with Danton already, first time he was here [from 2017-20],” said Pastrnak. “He’s a very smart player, he has a great stick, he’s good on forecheck, he can create a lot of loose pucks, steals the puck with his good stick. We all know his shot. He’s a smart player who can make plays. Hopefully we can build the chemistry better between the three of us and spend more time in the O-zone.”
  • Linus Ullmark was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate and is expected to start between the pipes for the Bruins.
  • James van Riemsdyk was among the players staying out late for the optional morning skate along with Parker Wotherspoon and Mason Lohrei, indicating he could be a scratch against the Senators.
  • Montgomery said following Monday's practice at Warrior Ice Arena that Pat Maroon remains "week-to-week" as he rehabs from back surgery. "There’s [no update] besides, [he] won't be playing this week," said Montgomery.
  • Boston's bench boss also said that Johnny Beecher and Jesper Boqvist will split centerman duties on the fourth line. "We're going to have Beecher take the draws because he's so good at it, right?" said Montgomery. "f they lose the draw in the zone, Beecher is going to play center until we get out of the zone. But when it goes 5-on-5, most of time we want Boqvist playing center...we want him handling the puck, and when you're a center, you get the puck more. He's doing a great job, he's confident with the puck...we just like him transporting the puck, and his speed underneath pucks puts opponents."
  • The Senators are coming off a 7-2 loss to Carolina on Sunday night, which snapped a three-game winning streak. Ottawa, which is 28-34-4 with 60 points this season, is paced by Tim Stutzle, who leads the club with 64 points (17 goals, 47 assists) in 66 games. Brady Tkachuk paces the Senators with 30 goals.

Pastrnak meets with the media before BOS vs. OTT