Jeff Skinner Remains Out for Hurricanes As Bruins Return to Raleigh to Open Road Trip

The Bruins open a four-game road trip in Carolina, where they will try to beat the Hurricanes for the first time in three tries this season on Saturday.

Boston dropped a 3-2 game to the Hurricanes in its first visit to Raleigh on Oct. 12, then fell 4-1 to Carolina back at the Garden on Oct. 18 as the Bruins suffered a meltdown with a string of undisciplined penalties. 

Those games both came during Boston's early struggles to shake off the Stanley Cup hangover, but the Bruins have been pretty good since and return to Raleigh with a 28-11-1 record (57 points), 20 points ahead of the struggling Hurricanes (15-23-7, 37 points). The Bruins are also 12-4-0 on the road, while Carolina is just 10-11-3 at home.

The Hurricanes will be without reigning rookie of the year Jeff Skinner, who remains sidelined with a concussion. Skinner did participate in the morning skate and is close to returning. He could play as early as Sunday in Washington, but will be held out of this one against Boston as he misses his 16th straight game.

"Like we said before, if there's any question mark or any uncertainty, or we're not sure 100 percent, we'll just give him another workout," Carolina coach Kirk Muller told reporters after the morning skate. "We've got back-to-back games here, so we'll just get him hopefully ready for tomorrow."

Defenseman Jaroslav Spacek, who took a puck to the face against Philadelphia on Tuesday, and forward Chad LaRose (upper body) will also be out. Derek Joslin will play his first game since Dec. 15 to replace Spacek on the blue line.

Cam Ward is expected to get the start in goal.

The Bruins don't have any injury issues, but forward Brad Marchand will be out serving the third game of his five-game suspension. Jordan Caron returned to the lineup Thursday against Montreal and took advantage of a lucky bounce to open the scoring in a 2-1 win over the Habs. He'll remain in the lineup on the third line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, with Zach Hamill and Steven Kampfer the healthy scratches.

The Bruins held just an optional skate in the morning with 11 players participating. Tuukka Rask took part and got in some extra work, which could be an indication that Tim Thomas will get the start in goal, but Claude Julien did not name his starter after the skate.

Steve Kozari and Marcus Vinnerborg will be the referees, with Brian Murphy and Jay Sharrers working the lines.

Projected Bruins lines
Forwards
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Benoit Pouliot-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Jordan Caron-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Defense
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid

Goalies
Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

Scratches: Brad Marchand (suspended), Steven Kampfer, Zach Hamill

Projected Hurricanes lines
Forwards
Jiri Tlusty-Eric Staal-Tuomo Ruutu
Alexei Ponikarovsky-Jussi Jokinen-Jerome Samson
Andreas Nodl-Brandon Sutter-Patrick Dwyer
Brett Sutter-Tim Brent-Anthony Stewart

Defense
Bryan Allen-Tim Gleason
Jay Harrison-Justin Faulk
Derek Joslin-Jamie McBain

Goalies
Cam Ward
Justin Peters

Scratches: Jaroslav Spacek (face), Chad LaRose (upper body), Jeff Skinner (concussion)

Have a question for Douglas Flynn? Send it to him via Twitter at @douglasflynn or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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