How Matt Poitras is attempting to return to a regular role with the Boston Bruins

The NHL has welcomed Matt Poitras back.
The 19-year-old center participated in Saturday night’s 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning by the Boston Bruins, marking his first game since December 16. The 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship run of Poitras was terminated on Tuesday following Team Canada’s quarterfinal loss to Czechia.
Returning to this location and the starting line-up felt like a welcome reset. After the game on Saturday, Poitras remarked, “You kind of get those jitters of your first game again, a lot of excitement.”
With 11:01 of ice time, Poitras, who centered the third line between Trent Frederic and Danton Heinen, had two assists. With just ten forwards, Tampa Bay forced Bruins coach Jim Montgomery to trim his bench, which limited the playing time of the bottom six.

Nov 30, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Matthew Poitras (51) controls the puck during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

“I felt that [Poitras] was excellent. Montgomery remarked on Saturday, “He was making plays and looked fresh.”
The third and fourth lines, regrettably, were a little too short for the person I was pairing them with. Anticipating the next game in Colorado, where they’ll have four lines and we’ll have plenty of opportunities to play him.
James van Riemsdyk, a regular third lineman, missed practice on Saturday due to an injury that is considered to be minor. While he was away, Frederic moved to the wing to free up Poitras for the pivot role.
The Bruins put in place a rest schedule for Poitras before he left for the World Juniors, which included designated nights off as a healthy scratch. Montgomery stated that the goal for Poitras as he returns to a regular role is to manage the game well, avoid overplaying, and yet allow his playmaking ability to be seen.

Nov 6, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Boston Bruins center Matthew Poitras (51) in action during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Boston Bruins at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

“My legs felt good, and I felt good today.” felt that I had the puck, played a pretty decent game, and made some wise choices, according to Poitras. “The ice is obviously smaller than what I was playing over in Sweden, so the first couple shifts went quickly. The first several shifts required some adjustment.
However, Poitras’ third-line positioning is not assured going forward. Suddenly, Montgomery has a few players who can play center, including Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zacha, but also Frederic, Morgan Geekie, and Jesper Boqvist. Georgii Merkle played well down the middle and was sent back down to AHL Providence on Saturday.
Poitras’s “situations that he’s going to be able to have success” are something Montgomery is adamant about, and they can change from night to night depending on opponent matchups and movement within Boston’s own line-up.
When the Boston Bruins take on the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena on Monday night at 9 p.m., Poitras will have another opportunity—and probably more ice time—to establish his mettle.

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