The Bruins begin a quick tour through Florida with a stop in Tampa on Monday, where they will take on the surprising Lightning.
Tampa has missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, but first-year general manager Steve Yzerman and new coach Guy Boucher have things moving in the right direction. The Lightning are tied with the Bruins with 24 points, though Boston does have two games in hand.
The Lightning return home after going 3-0-0 on a road trip through Long Island, Philadelphia and Buffalo, but they'll face a Bruins team that's enjoyed plenty of success away from the Garden. Boston is 7-1-0 on the road, and has won its last two road games against Pittsburgh and the Rangers.
It appears they'll turn to Tuukka Rask to try to stretch that road win streak to three. Rask was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate, usually the indication of who will start that night. Rask earned his first win of the season in his last start, stopping all 41 shots he saw in a 4-0 shutout of Florida at the Garden last Thursday.
In front of Rask, the Bruins made one minor tweak up front. Rookie Tyler Seguin remained at wing in the skate after playing his first game there on Saturday, but he moved up to Patrice Bergeron's line, with Mark Recchi on the opposite side. Fellow rookie Jordan Caron moved down with Blake Wheeler, who remains at center, and Michael Ryder.
The rest of the line combinations and defense pairings remain intact, which would indicate that Daniel Paille and Adam McQuaid will again be the healthy scratches.
The Bruins also had injured forwards Marc Savard and Marco Sturm join them again at the skate, as both have traveled with the team on this trip. Savard will fly to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to meet with a specialist for a final comprehensive neuro-psych test. If he passes, he will be cleared for contact in practice.
Tampa is without two of its top forwards as well, with Vincent Lecavalier (hand) out 4-5 weeks and Simon Gagne (neck) having missed the past 14 games. Gagne is close to returning but does not appear likely to play on Monday. He skated in the morning, but in a red non-contact jersey. Defenseman Matt Smaby (ankle) is also doubtful for Monday.
Mike Smith was the first goalie off for the Lightning, so he will likely get the start in goal. Forward Mattias Ritola is eligible to return after missing two games with a suspension for a hit from behind on the Islanders' Matt Moulson, but Tampa could scratch him again and dress seven defensemen and just 11 forwards. That would likely put Mathieu Roy back in the lineup.
Projected Bruins lines:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Tyler Seguin-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Jordan Caron-Blake Wheeler-Michael Ryder
Brad Marchand-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Andrew Ference
Matt Hunwick-Dennis Seidenberg
Mark Stuart-Johnny Boychuk
Scratches: Daniel Paille, Adam McQuaid
Projected Lightning lines:
Steve Downie-Steven Stamkos-Marty St. Louis
Ryan Malone-Dominic Moore-Teddy Purcell
Adam Hall-Nate Thompson-Sean Bergenheim
Mattias Ritola-Blair Jones-Dana Tyrell
Pavel Kubina-Mike Lundin
Victor Hedman-Brett Clark
Randy Jones-Mattias Ohlund
Scratches: Mathieu Roy, Simon Gagne (neck), Matt Smaby (ankle)