( Photo Credit: Steve Babineau / NHLI via Getty Images )

By: Kevin Perry | Follow Me on Twitter @Kevperry_

With a series-clinching game on the horizon tonight for the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, it will be interesting to see what head coach Jim Montgomery does to the lineup. With David Krejci sidelined for the two games in Florida and out again tonight, Patrice Bergeron, who will likely suit up in the playoffs for the first time, and goaltender Linus Ullmark who has seemed to be dealing with something, the best thing for the Bruins is to close out the series.

Rest is a significant thing this time of year. With a primarily veteran squad that has played with such a high intensity and focus all season, additional days off will only benefit them. Although the Bruins have a nice balance of depth which allows for more sharing of ice time, the Bruins still have players averaging well over twenty minutes per game.

Charlie McAvoy, who has been leading the way for the Boston Bruins blue liners, has been averaging 23:26 per game, which ranks him 24th in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for average time on ice. Hampus Lindholm and Dmitry Orlov averaged around 21:30 per game, 55th and 56th most in the league through four games.

Those minutes may not compare to players around the league who are chewing up 25-plus minutes per game. However, they still are physically taxing minutes as this series has been physical series, which is to be expected in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tonight’s matchup should be another tough matchup with how game four ended, with Linus Ullmark and Mathew Thachuck squaring off before the linesman could intervene. Both players were sent off for the remainder of the game.

Boston must close out the series at home tonight as flying to Florida for game six would add at least three more days onto their first-round series while possibly giving their likely second-round opponent more time to rest. The other side of the bracket is the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are leading their series over the Tampa Bay Lightning and look to close out their series tomorrow night at home.

Rest will be crucial heading into the second round, as all hockey fans know how good offensively Toronto and Tampa Bay are. As it seems more likely that Toronto would be the next opponent based on how both series are going, the Bruins would need to focus on continuing their stellar defensive play against Toronto, who is averaging 4.8 goals per game.

Continuing strong defensive play means exerting more and more energy, and after a long and historic season, the more rest the Boston Bruins can get will only benefit them. If Boston wins tonight, it will guarantee a minimum that the earliest the Bruins could play would be Sunday if Toronto finishes off Tampa Bay.

If Patrice Bergeron makes his series debut for game five but will be without his familiar left winger Brad Marchand as Jim Montgomery has switched the lines up. He was on the top line at practice yesterday with Tyler Bertuzzi, David Pastrnak with Brad Marchand on the wing, Charlie Coyle, and Nick Foligno. After practice yesterday, Bergeron spoke with the media and had this to say about his longtime teammate.

“Obviously, I have so much respect and so much chemistry with Brad, but that being said, I can play with anyone; the guys have so much talent. Whoever is on my left side or my right side on this team doesn’t really matter. The depth is there. You have to do your job.”

Linus Ullmark will be expected in the net for his fifth straight start. The puck drops in Boston tonight at 7 P.M.