BOSTON — After a rare day off on Friday, the Bruins had everybody on the ice for Saturday's morning skate.
Even injured forwards Marc Savard and Marco Sturm took part, joining their teammates for the first time, though both still have a long way to go before being ready to play in games. David Krejci is much closer to returning from his concussion, but isn't expected to be in the lineup Saturday.
Still, it was an encouraging sign to see so many bodies on the ice as the Bruins prepared for Saturday night's showdown with Los Angeles.
The Kings didn't have anyone skate in the morning after losing 4-2 Friday night in Buffalo. They come in having lost three straight games, but even with the advantage of some extra rest, the Bruins don't plan to take anything for granted in this one.
"If you had the choice, you'd rather have it this way, but I’m looking more at it in a way that tonight, they're one of the better teams in the NHL," said Claude Julien. "They're young, but they're extremely deep and good that are coming in here with a burr because they've lost three in a row. I think we should be wary of that because desperation on good hockey teams usually gets the best out of them. They've lost three, we've won three, and hopefully by the end of the night we'll have won four and they'll have lost four, but certainly won't be an easy game."
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate, usually the indication that he will start. If he does, it will be a bit of a surprise considering that Tuukka Rask posted a 41-save shutout in Boston's last game on Thursday. Thomas was given the next start after each of his four shutouts this season, but it appears that Rask, who has not started consecutive games this year, will not get that opportunity after his stellar outing against the Panthers.
Other than returning Thomas to goal, the Bruins aren't expected to have any other lineup changes. They don't have any healthy scratches up front. On defense, Johnny Boychuk returned Thursday after missing 10 games with a fractured forearm. Adam McQuaid was scratched to make room for Boychuk and will likely be out again on Saturday.
For the Kings, Milford, Conn. native and former UMass-Amherst goalie Jonathan Quick will get the start in goal after Jonathan Bernier fell to 2-4-0 with Friday's loss in Buffalo. Quick is 10-2-0 with a 1.73 GAA and a .936 save percentage.
Defenseman Jake Muzzin was scratched Friday in favor of former Boston College blueliner Peter Harrold, and Harrold is expected to remain in the lineup against the Bruins.
The Kings also don't have any healthy spare forwards, so their lineup up front will remain the same, though coach Terry Murray has indicated he may switch up the line combinations to break up the all-rookie trio of Kevin Westgarth, Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford on the fourth line.
Regardless of how the Kings arrange their lines, Julien knows they have the skill and depth to be a dangerous opponent. Center Anze Kopitar, who leads the Kings with 19 points, and captain Dustin Brown have been particularly effective against the Bruins in the past, but they're far from the only threats.
"He's a highly skilled player and he's obviously got size and reach," said Julien of Kopitar. "You have to play him smart and get good angles on him because he is a hard guy to stop. Brown is probably one of the best power forwards in the league. He can score goals, but if you don't have your head up, he's going to run you over, as well. You got [Ryan] Smyth that's probably one of the best players in the league at standing around in front of the net and tipping pucks, taking a beating, finding loose pucks. They've got a lot of everything."
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- Johnny Boychuk
Scratches: David Krejci (concussion), Adam McQuaid
Projected Panthers lines:
Dwight King-Anze Kopitar-Dustin Brown
Ryan Smyth-Jarret Stoll-Justin Williams
Brad Richardson-Michal Handzus-Wayne Simmonds
Kyle Clifford-Trevor Lewis-Kevin Westgarth
Rob Scuderi-Drew Doughty
Matt Greene-Jack Johnson
Davis Drewiske-Peter Harrold
Scratches: Jake Muzzin
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