The Boston Bruins clinched a playoff spot with a win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, but their seed for the Stanley Cup playoffs is far from certain.
The B’s host the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on Thursday night, and the Sens come in with a slight lead (based on fewer games played) over Boston for second place in the Atlantic Division.
A victory for the Bruins would give them a great chance to avoid falling into the wild card — and a first-round series with the Washington Capitals — and secure a favorable Round 1 playoff matchup with Ottawa or the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson won’t play Thursday night because of an injury, which is good news for the Bruins because he’s Ottawa’s best player. However, the Bruins will be without leading goal scorer Brad Marchand, who was suspended Thursday for Boston’s final two regular-season games by the NHL.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams.
BOSTON BRUINS (44-30-6)
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–David Backes
Drew Stafford–David Krejci–David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey–Ryan Spooner–Sean Kuraly
Dominic Moore–Riley Nash–Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara–Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug–Adam McQuaid
John-Michael Liles–Kevan Miller
OTTAWA SENATORS (42-27-10)
Mike Hoffman–Kyle Turris–Mark Stone
Viktor Stalberg–Derick Brassard–Alexandre Burrows
Tom Pyatt–Jean-Gabriel Pageau–Tommy Wingels
Clarke MacArthur–Chris Kelly–Ryan Dzingel
Dion Phaneuf–Ben Harpur
Mark Borowiecki–Chris Wideman
Frederik Claesson–Jyrki Jokipakka
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images