BOSTON – The Bruins will have a couple of new faces in the lineup Tuesday night against the Penguins.
That's the luxury of having clinched the division title and second seed in the East on Sunday.
With that playoff position secured, Tim Thomas will get the night off. That's completely off. He won't even dress against Pittsburgh, with Marty Turco getting the start and newcomer Anton Khudobin, fresh off a call-up from Providence, serving as the backup.
"Tim won't be playing tonight," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the club's morning skate. "Certainly, we're going to give him some rest. He's done a great job for us down the stretch and this is an opportunity to give him some rest. But at the same time, we're going to continue to work with him so he's fine-tuned for the playoffs."
Julien added that Thomas will see action again before the playoffs, with the Bruins closing out the regular season with a game at Ottawa on Thursday and home against Buffalo on Saturday.
"We're not shutting him down," Julien said. "The one thing I can tell you is we're not shutting him down for the rest of the regular season. You need to play to be sharp, but the fact that you don't play games or even dress sometimes certainly gives you a break."
The Bruins will also look to keep Khudobin sharp. Turco is not eligible to play in the postseason because he signed after the trade deadline, leaving Khudobin to back up Thomas until Tuukka Rask is ready to return from his groin injury.
"We've got to see where Tuukka is and if Tuukka's not ready, then Anton's got to be ready because Marty can't play in the playoffs," Julien said. "That's clear to us, and that's clear to [Khudobin] and the way Tuukka's going right now, he's heading in the right direction. Where are we going to be in a week and a half, right now I really don't know."
The Bruins will also have a new face on defense, with newly-signed Torey Krug set to make his NHL debut against the Penguins. Krug is a bit undersized at 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, but Julien likes what he has seen so far in practice from the former Michigan State standout.
"Everybody keeps talking about his size, but what I see is a guy who moves extremely well, passes the puck extremely well and seems to have real good vision," Julien said. "There are a lot of guys in this league that play that position, even [Pittsburgh's Kris] Letang isn't an overly big player. And this guy here, when they say he's 5-foot-9, he's a pretty strong individual. You look at him, he's pretty solid and to me he has a lot of qualities we've been looking for so it's an opportunity for him to play and to enjoy it and for us to see what he's all about. It will be a great experience for him, and it will be good for us to evaluate him as well to see how far he is in his progression to be an NHL player."
To make room on the blue line, Adam McQuaid (eye) will remain out as a precaution despite rejoining the team for the morning skate, and Julien will have to scratch two other defensemen.
Up front, Jordan Caron didn't skate in the morning and will miss the game with what Julien termed "a flu bug or virus," while Gregory Campbell returns after missing Sunday's game.
The Penguins are battling with Philadelphia for home ice in the 4-5 matchup in the opening round, but they will start their backup goalie as well, with Brent Johnson playing just his second game since Feb. 19. He missed 17 games with an undisclosed injury.
Marc Joanette and Paul Devorski will be the referees, with Brad Kovachik and Brad Lazarowich working the lines.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon-Torey Krug
Scratches: Tim Thomas, Adam McQuaid (eye), Joe Corvo, Mike Mottau, Jordan Caron (flu), Nathan Horton (concussion), Tuukka Rask (groin)
Projected Penguins lines
Chris Kunitz-Evgeni Malkin-James Neal
Steve Sullivan-Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke-Jordan Staal-Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham-Joe Vitale-Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik-Zbynek Michalek
Paul Martin-Kris Letang
Matt Niskanen-Deryk Engelland
Scratches: Eric Tangradi, Richard Park, Dustin Jeffrey, Brian Strait, Ben Lovejoy (knee)