This three-game swing through California has not been a fun road trip for the Bruins. They’ll get one more chance to salvage a win out of the trip, and they will have some additions to the lineup when the puck drops Saturday in San Jose.
The B’s will welcome back forwards Loui Eriksson and Shawn Thornton to the lineup on Saturday night as they wrap up the Cali swing against the San Jose Sharks. The matchup with one of the league’s best teams will mark the first game for both Eriksson and Thornton since Dec. 7. Eriksson was concussed in that matchup against Pittsburgh, which was Thornton’s final game before he was handed down a 15-game suspension for attacking Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik.
The reinforcements come at a good time for the Bruins, who have dropped the first two games of the three-game trip. To make room in the lineup, Matt Fraser and Justin Florek are expected to be scratches. They have both played solid as of late, but the return of veterans Eriksson and Thornton may stabilize the lineup some.
“It’s certainly nice to see that happen, but it doesn’t guarantee wins,” Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters Saturday. “We’ve still gotta go out there and play our game and be a lot better than we have been the last little while. It’s not so much about effort, but our decision-making and those little details that are making a difference in the game either in the positive way or the negative.”
Those won’t be the only lineup changes against the Sharks on Saturday, though. Kevan Miller will be in the lineup and on the Bruins blue line in place of Johnny Boychuk who is back in Boston for personal reasons.
Tuukka Rask is expected to make his third start of the trip and fourth consecutive start overall.
Here are the rest of the projected lines and defensive pairs.
Bruins (28-14-2, 58 points)
Milan Lucic — David Krejci — Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Reilly Smith
Carl Soderberg — Ryan Spooner — Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille — Gregory Campbell — Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara — Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug — Adam McQuaid
Matt Bartkowski — Kevan Miller
Sharks (28-11-6, 62 points)
Joe Pavelski — Joe Thornton — Brent Burns
Matthew Nieto — Patrick Marleau — Tommy Wingels
Bracken Kearns — Andrew Desjardins — Tyler Kennedy
Eriah Hayes — John McCarthy — Mike Brown
Dan Boyle — Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Justin Braun — Brad Stuart
Scott Hannan — Jason Demers