BOSTON — The Bruins still won't have their full lineup available when they take on the Devils at the Garden on Monday night, but they are getting closer to having a couple of key guys back.
David Krejci and Johnny Boychuk each skated with the club again on Monday for the morning skate, though neither will be available to play just yet.
Krejci is recovering from a concussion suffered on Nov. 6 against St. Louis. He was scheduled to undergo further testing on Monday afternoon.
"As long as we tell you that we're moving forward with him, it's because those symptoms have slowly gone away and he's passed the different exertion tests and so on, so forth, so he's heading in that direction," said head coach Claude Julien. "I think he mentioned to some of you guys anyway that he'll be seeing the doctor again today and hopefully taking another step forward."
Boychuk continues making strides in his recovery from a fractured left forearm as well. He had his cast removed on Sunday and is now wearing a stiff removable cast to protect the forearm. He hopes to be cleared to play by the weekend.
The Bruins won't have any healthy scratches on Monday with those two players remaining out, but they are likely to have some lineup changes after coach Julien shook up the lines on Sunday. Shawn Thornton and Michael Ryder swapped spots, with Ryder joining Greg Campbell and Brad Marchand and Thornton skating with Tyler Seguin and Daniel Paille.
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice at the skate, indicating he'll likely get the start against a New Jersey club that is dealing with plenty of injury issues itself. Those problems help explain why the Devils have struggled to a 5-10-2 start this season.
"Every year you’ve got these kinds of things where you’re surprised at certain teams," said Julien. "I don’t think I have to lobby for them, but I know they’ve had a lot of tough luck. They’ve had some key injuries and haven’t had their whole team together. So, as we say, every team has its issues and it’s how you deal with them that makes the difference, so I am here dealing with our issues so I can’t really comment on [New Jersey's]."
The Devils, already beset with a slew of injuries, will be without two more regulars on Monday. Forward Jamie Langenbrunner and defenseman Matt Taormina did not make the trip to Boston, remaining behind in New Jersey to undergo MRIs. Langenbrunner suffered a neck injury when he was hit headfirst into the boards Wednesday against Buffalo, while Taormina suffered an ankle injury in practice on Sunday.
They join an injured list that already includes star forward Zach Parise (out three months with a knee injury), center Jacob Josefson (out 6-8 weeks after hand surgery) and defensemen Bryce Salvador (out indefinitely with a concussion), Mark Fraser (out another few weeks with a broken hand) and Anssi Salmela (out indefinitely with a knee injury).
New Jersey will get defenseman Matthew Corrente back on Monday. He returns to the lineup after missing seven games with a broken hand suffered in a fight with San Jose's Ryan Clowe on Oct. 27. Corrente will slide into Taormina's spot on the blue line.
The Devils also got former Bruin Brian Rolston back in their last game on Friday. Rolston scored his first goal of the year against Edmonton that night after missing 13 games with a sports hernia.
Goalie Martin Brodeur has been hurting as well. He missed two games last week with a bruised elbow, but returned on Friday as well and is expected to start on Monday.
With so many banged-up bodies, the Devils opted to hold an optional skate at the Garden on Monday morning. Brodeur and forwards Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus were among the Devils who opted not to skate, but all should play on Monday night.
Projected Bruins lines:
Milan Lucic-Patrice Bergeron-Nathan Horton
Jordan Caron-Blake Wheeler-Mark Recchi
Brad Marchand-Gregory Campbell-Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille-Tyler Seguin-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Andrew Ference
Matt Hunwick-Dennis Seidenberg
Mark Stuart-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: David Krejci (concussion), Johnny Boychuk (forearm)
Projected Devils lines:
Ilya Kovalchuk-Travis Zajac-Alexander Vasyunov
Patrik Elias-Jason Arnott-Mattias Tedenby
Brian Rolston-Dainius Zubrus-David Clarkson
Rod Pelley-Adam Mair-Stephen Gionta
Andy Greene-Colin White
Henrik Tallinder-Matthew Corrente
Olivier Magnan-Anton Volchenkov
Scratches: Jamie Langenbrunner (neck), Matt Taormina (ankle)