After losing back-to-back games for the first time since October, the Bruins will look to bounce back in Columbus on Saturday.
The Blue Jackets are a league-worst 8-16-4 (20 points), but are 5-3-3 over their last 11 games. That run began with a hard-fought 2-1 shootout loss to the Bruins in Boston on Nov. 17, which the Blue Jackets followed with a 4-3 overtime win in Nashville two days later.
"That was the game that really got us going, the one that jumped us into that big win in Nashville," Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel told reporters after his club's morning skate on Saturday. "It gave us a real good shot of adrenaline, a good shot of positive confidence that we needed."
The Bruins will be without forward Daniel Paille, who suffered a mild concussion on a hit from Florida's Krys Barch on Thursday. Paille did not make the trip to Columbus and Jordan Caron will take his place in the lineup and on the fourth line beside Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.
That will leave the other three line combinations intact. The defensive pairs will also stay the same with Steven Kampfer expected to remain a healthy scratch. Other than a brief conditioning stint in Providence, he has not played since Nov. 17. Caron had not played since Nov. 15 other than his brief stay in Providence, but got into the lineup Tuesday in Winnipeg when Tyler Seguin was benched for missing the team breakfast and a meeting.
Tim Thomas did not participate in the Bruins' optional morning skate, while Tuukka Rask took the opportunity to get in some work. That could indicate Thomas will get the nod in this one. He had a career-high 10-game win streak snapped Thursday against Florida and has never beaten the Blue Jackets, going 0-1-1 with 2.95 GAA and a .920 save percentage.
Rask started the first game against Columbus this season, making 31 saves in the shootout win. He's 2-1-0 with 1.90 GAA and .935 save percentage against the Blue Jackets.
Curtis Sanford will start in goal for Columbus. He started his first game in the NHL since Jan. 13, 2009 when the Blue Jackets played in Boston on Nov. 17. He stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced before falling in the shootout, and has started every game for Columbus since. He's 5-3-3 with a 2.24 GAA and a .917 save percentage this season, and will make his 12th straight start in this one.
The Blue Jackets will get defenseman John Moore back after he missed the last two games with an illness. Aaron Johnson is expected to be the healthy scratch. Forward Kristian Huselius (groin) and defenseman Radek Martinek (concussion) remain out with long-term injuries.
Ian Walsh and Brian Pochmara will be the referees, with Derek Amell and Scott Cherrey working the lines.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Jordan Caron-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: Daniel Paille (concussion), Steve Kampfer
Projected Blue Jackets lines
Vinny Prospal-Jeff Carter-Rick Nash
Antoine Vermette-Derick Brassard-Ryan Johansen
R.J. Umberger-Samuel Pahlsson-Derek Dorsett
Derek Mackenzie-Mark Letestu-Jared Boll
Marc Methot-James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin-Nikita Nikitin
John Moore-Grant Clitsome
Scratches: Aaron Johnson