BOSTON — The Bruins will close out a four-game homestand with a clash against the Canadiens as Montreal pays its final visit of the season to the Garden on Thursday.
The Bruins had just an optional skate in the morning, though 15 players still took part. That included both goalies. Tim Thomas was the first off the ice and will likely get the call to start after Tuukka Rask got the nod against Winnipeg on Tuesday. Thomas has beaten Montreal the last two times he faced the Canadiens, recording 33 saves in each game, including a 1-0 shutout in Montreal on Nov. 21.
With Brad Marchand serving the second game of his five-game suspension, Benoit Pouliot will remain alongside Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. Pouliot had a goal Tuesday on that line and three assists against Calgary when he filled in with Marchand sidelined by the flu last week.
Jordan Caron was recalled from Providence once again on Thursday morning and joined the team for the skate. He could be a healthy scratch again, but Zach Hamill did stay out for extra work after the skate and Claude Julien stated he wants to get Caron into some game action. So it’s possible Caron could take Pouliot’s spot on the third line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley instead of Hamill, who has no points in his last seven games.
“He’s a guy that we wanted to see play down there a little bit more to give him a chance to get his game going,” Julien said of Caron. “Now we’re heading on the road after tonight and you certainly want some extra bodies, and he’s one of those guys that I think is worthy of getting some opportunities because we like his game. He got caught in the situation where he had to sit out a lot and naturally a guy’s game is going to fade a little bit because of rustiness. He’s played a few games there [in Providence] and I think our goal is utilize him at some point.”
Montreal will be without captain Brian Gionta, who had biceps surgery on Wednesday. Scott Gomez is close to returning from a groin injury and skated Thursday morning, but RDS has reported that he will not play against Boston.
That would leave the Canadiens with just 11 forwards, so they would have to dress seven defensemen, with Yannick Weber possibly moving up front. A defenseman by trade, Weber has been used at forward in the past.
Carey Price was the first goalie off the ice for Montreal and is expected to get the start in net for Montreal.
Mike Hasenfratz and Mike Leggo will be the referees, with Steve Barton and Michel Cormier working the lines.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Benoit Pouliot-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Chris Kelly-Zach Hamill-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: Brad Marchand (suspended), Steven Kampfer, Jordan Caron
Projected Canadiens lines
Michael Cammalleri-Tomas Plekanec-Scott Gomez
Max Pacioretty-David Desharnais-Erik Cole
Travis Moen-Lars Eller-Andrei Kostitsyn
Mathieu Darche-Petteri Nokelainen-Mike Blunden
Josh Gorges-P.K. Subban
Tomas Kaberle-Raphael Diaz
Hal Gill-Chris Campoli
Scratches: Alexei Emelin, Yannick Weber