Tim Thomas Expected Back in Net As Bruins Close Out Road Trip Against Panthers in Florida

Tim Thomas Expected Back in Net As Bruins Close Out Road Trip Against Panthers in FloridaThe Bruins will look to bounce back from Tuesday's 6-1 loss in Tampa and avoid their first four-game losing streak in over two years when they close out their three-game road trip against the Panthers in Sunrise, Fla. on Thursday.

Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate and is expected to get the start. He has appeared in 10 straight games, including Tuesday when he had to come on in relief of Marty Turco after Turco surrendered three goals in the opening 4:31 of his first start as a Bruin. Thomas gave up two goals on five shots himself and was pulled in favor of Turco early in the second period.

Patrice Bergeron, who was hit by a Matt Niskanen shot in Pittsburgh on Sunday and again by a Johnny Boychuk blast on Tuesday, is hopeful he will be able to play. Bergeron, forward Benoit Pouliot (lower body) and defenseman Adam McQuaid (upper body) will all be game-time decisions.

If he plays, Bergeron will likely be reunited with Tyler Seguin, who was moved back to that line with Brad Marchand during Tuesday's game. Jordan Caron moved up alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic, and those combinations are expected to remain for the start of this one.

Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters after the morning skate that Rich Peverley, out since suffering a knee injury Feb. 15 in Montreal, skated back in Boston on Wednesday, but Julien had not yet received a report on how the sessions went. Nathan Horton (concussion) still has not resumed skating.

The Panthers have plenty of injuries themselves. Jack Skille (shoulder) and Matt Bradley (concussion) are definitely out. Kris Versteeg (lower body), Scottie Upshall (sports hernia) and Dmitry Kulikov (knee) are all close to returning, but not expected to play in this game.

Jose Theodore is expected in net for Florida, which has a one-point lead on Washington for the Southeast Division lead. The Panthers are just four points back of Boston for the second seed in the East, but the Bruins are more concerned with Ottawa closing fast in their rear-view mirror. The Senators have pulled within a point of the Northeast Division lead.

Kelly Sutherland and Brad Meier will be the referees, with Tony Sericolo and Pierre Racicot working the lines.

Projected Bruins lines

Forwards

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jordan Caron

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin

Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Brian Rolston

Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Defense

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk

Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo

Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid

Goalies

Tim Thomas

Marty Turco

Scratches: Nathan Horton (concussion), Rich Peverley (knee), Tuukka Rask (groin), Mike Mottau, Greg Zanon, Trent Whitfield

Projected Panthers lines

Forwards

Tomas Fleischmann-Stephen Weiss-Wojtek Wolksi

Sean Bergenheim-Marcel Goc-Mikael Samuelsson

Marco Sturm-Shawn Matthias-Tomas Kopecky

Krystofer Barch-John Madden-Jerred Smithson

Defense

Jason Garrison-Brian Campbell

Keaton Ellerby-Mike Weaver

Ed Jovanovski-Erik Gudbranson

Goalies

Jose Theodore

Scott Clemmensen

Scratches: Jack Skille (shoulder), Mike Santorelli, Tyson Strachan, Kris Versteeg (lower body), Scottie Upshall (sports hernia), Dmitry Kulikov (knee), Matt Bradley (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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