BOSTON — The Bruins haven't revealed their lineup for Saturday's preseason home opener against Florida, but coach Claude Julien gave a strong indication of which players fans should expect to see on the Garden ice for that contest.
"Our lineup should be pretty close to what you saw this morning in the first group," said Julien. "That's going to be pretty close. [Saturday] morning, something might happen where I could make a change here or there, but what you saw in the first group — if everything goes as it should — should be pretty close to the team for Saturday."
That should be good news for fans coming out to the Garden and those watching at home (NESN will broadcast the game), as top prospect Tyler Seguin skated in the first group on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.
Also among the players skating in the first group was a new line featuring David Krejci between Milan Lucic and newcomer Nathan Horton.
"It's something we're looking at right now," said Julien of that combination. "We've put Recchi with Bergeron and Seguin. We're trying to get a bit of a feel for that. Now we're doing the same thing with Horton. I thought he played well in Montreal. He was with [Ryan] Spooner and they found each other pretty well. Now let's see how he does with Krejci as a centerman and Lucic on his left. Now he's got two guys that have experience in this league and that will give him a chance to showcase his talent even more."
Spooner, who was skating on an exciting all-kid line with Max Sauve and Jordan Caron on Friday, drew some strong praise from Julien on Friday.
"He's one of those players that has really impressed me with the fact that he's got unbelievable hockey sense," Julien said of Spooner. "Sometimes you get a player that has a lot of talent and a lot of skill, but the little details in the game he still has to figure out. This player here already has that part of it figured out. He's an extremely smart individual and he does the little things right now that sometimes take us two to three years to really teach players at this level."
The fourth line should feature newcomer Greg Campbell, youngster Jamie Arniel and enforcer Brian McGrattan, who is trying to earn a spot on the roster as a tryout in camp.
On defense, captain Zdeno Chara will lead a blue line corps that features fellow veterans Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart and a trio of youngsters in Matt Bartkowski, Steve Kampfer and Yury Alexandrov. Bartkowski (two assists against Montreal) and Kampfer (goal vs. Florida) were both impressive in their preseason debuts, while Alexandrov will be playing his first game.
The goalies for the first group on Friday were Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas, but Thomas won't be playing on Saturday.
"Our anticipation for him is to play, hopefully, in one of the next two games, the Washington games [next Tuesday and Wednesday]," Julien said.
That means either Nolan Schaefer or Matt Dalton from the second session will dress on Saturday along with Rask.
Other players from the afternoon workout not expected to play Saturday are forwards Blake Wheeler, Jeremy Reich, Daniel Paille, Joe Colborne, Michael Ryder, Brad Marchand, Zach Hamill, Jeff LoVecchio and Shawn Thornton, and defensemen Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference, Matt Hunwick, Adam McQuaid and Nathan McIver.
With just five defensemen in that practice, Thornton actually donned a black sweater and joined the blueliners for the drills. Thornton has a background on defense, playing there in junior and his first several seasons in the AHL, but don't expect a permanent switch for the Bruins' popular tough guy.
"It's been a while since I played back there," said Thornton. "We were short a defensemen and we had an extra forward, it was really that simple. I was probably the only guy that had played at the back end at some point, but don't expect it [in a game]. I don't think I'm stealing anybody's job on the point."