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By: Jason Cooke | Follow me on Twitter / X @cookejournalism

An abundance of uncertainty looms over the Boston Bruins with the Stanley Cup Playoffs less than two weeks away. The logistics of a potential goalie rotation, the return of Pat Maroon, and a struggling power play are all questions Jim Montgomery and the Bruins will yearn to find answers to in the homestretch of the regular season.

Most importantly, the Bruins will look to crack down on concrete line pairings to stroll into the postseason with some flare. According to Natural Stat Trick, Montgomery has experimented with well over 100 line combinations up front throughout the season, ranging from 310 to just seven seconds of combined ice time. The bench boss has been known to play matchmaker all year, trying almost everything in the book to ignite the offense. Though one of his recent creations has only skated two games together, a grouping of Jake DeBrusk, Trent Frederic, and Jesper Boqvist may be something to consider in the playoffs.

Boqvist has centered DeBrusk and Frederic in just 13:51 of time on ice over Boston’s last two games against the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes. However, they’ve accounted for 28.57% of Boston’s corsi. In other words, Montgomery’s new line is shooting the puck. While they haven’t lit the lamp as a line in their brief usage sample, Montgomery sees the potential for an offensive outbreak.

“(They just need to) be tenacious,” Montgomery told reporters after Monday’s practice. “I thought (DeBrusk) had his best game in a long time last game, and I think Boqvist, his confidence keeps rising. Now he’s up on the third line. (Frederic) just has to be Freddy. He’s got to be a guy that’s heavy and owns pucks below the goal line and plays with pace and emotion.”

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Boqvist may be as confident as ever, sizzling a wrist shot bar-down in overtime to push the B’s past the Panthers on Saturday for his sixth goal of the season. And while DeBrusk didn’t factor into his goal on the stat sheet, the two enjoyed the moment in front of a roaring TD Garden crowd. DeBrusk did impact the play, however, getting back on defense to put pressure on Anton Lundell. The puck then squirted to the boards, where Boqvist picked it up and skated the length of the ice for the score.

It’s the kind of offense Boqvist and DeBrusk can bring to the table, being the crafty, speedy forwards that they are. DeBrusk’s level of play will be essential for Boston’s success in the playoffs in a season where the 27-year-old has had his ups and downs. After breaking out for four goals in six games, DeBrusk has gone without a tally in his subsequent seven.

“The last game was a little slow, but we grew into it a little bit,” Boqvist said of playing with DeBrusk. “Today was a step in the right direction again, so hopefully, we can keep building on that.”

Like Boqvist, DeBrusk agreed that their first skate together against Carolina wasn’t perfect. However, he recognizes an exciting opportunity to play on a fast line, which creates chances for him to sling the biscuit.

“It pushes the pace for me, which I think is something that I have always had success with, even just growing up,” said DeBrusk. “That’s something that I’ve always wanted, is a fast centerman and someone you can go on rushes with and things of that nature…I think it will give me a lot of opportunities to shoot the puck.

“I think our first game was kind of a little bit sloppy. Obviously, we haven’t really played together at all…but I like the speed aspect of the line. I think that me and Freddy are both pretty good shooters as well.”

Frederic has been a Swiss Army knife for the Bruins this season, showcasing his ability to play anywhere in Montgomery’s lineup. But regardless of where he’s been slotted, he’s brought physicality and brass to his linemates while being a solid playmaker. This season, the 26-year-old has posted a career-high 18-21-39 in 78 games.

The Hurricanes are in town on Tuesday to meet Boston for the second time in five days, and it is unsure if Montgomery will roll the dice with this combination for the third time. If he does, the Bruins’ third line will feature some much-needed quickness and grit built for the likes of playoff hockey.

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