Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk is close to making a return, but he’s not there quite yet apparently.
Boston head coach Claude Julien wouldn’t rule out the possibility Friday afternoon that Boychuk could return against the Colorado Avalanche. However, Boychuk’s lower-body injury will keep him out at least one more game.
Boychuk won’t be in the lineup as the B’s take on the Avs on Friday night in Denver. The veteran blueliner practiced Thursday and skated with the team during Friday’s morning skate. However, there’s no need to rush him back after he suffered the injury crashing into the boards and then blocking a shot almost a week ago against Carolina.
Matt Bratkowski is expected to be back in the fold, though. Bartkowski was a healthy scratch Tuesday in New Jersey, which allowed Corey Potter to make his Bruins debut. Potter is headed back to the press box, though, and Bartkowski is back in the mix for the Black and Gold.
Up front, everything remains the same for the Bruins as they look to push their winning streak to 11 games.
Backup goalie Chad Johnson will make his second straight start for the Bruins, and Colorado will go back to its starter Semyon Varlamov.
Here are the rest of the projected lines and defensive pairs for Friday night’s Bruins-Avalanche game.
Bruins (47-17-5, 99 points)
Milan Lucic — David Krejci — Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly — Carl Soderberg — Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille — Gregory Campbell — Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara — Andrej Meszaros
Matt Bartkowski — Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug — Kevan Miller
Avalanche (44-20-6, 94 points)
Ryan O’Reilly — Matt Duchene — Jamie McGinn
Gabriel Landeskog — Paul Stastny — Nathan MacKinnon
Tyson Barrie — Max Talbot — Cody McLeod
Patrick Bordeleau — Brad Malone — Marc-Andre Cliche
Jan Hejda — Erik Johnson
Cory Sarich — Andre Benoit
Nick Holden — Nate Guenin