The Bruins continue their five-game road trip by heading across Florida to Tampa, where they will take on the Lightning on Tuesday night after a 3-2 shootout win over the Panthers on Monday.
With the back-to-back games, the Bruins did not hold a morning skate. Only injured forward Brad Marchand and goalie Tuukka Rask skated on their own. Marchand, still suffering the effects of a huge hit from Montreal’s P.K. Subban nearly two weeks ago, is close to a return and will be a game-time decision for this one.
Rask’s presence would normally indicate that Tim Thomas was in line for another start. But with Rask having gone so long between starts, he may have wanted some extra work even if he were scheduled to start in this one. Rask hasn’t played since Dec. 15 in Buffalo and is 0-4-0 with a 3.34 GAA on the road this year. That includes a 3-1 loss at Tampa Bay on Nov. 22.
While the Bruins’ goaltending situation remains a mystery, the Lightning will go with Dan Ellis. It will be the fifth straight start for Ellis, who is taking full advantage of Mike Smith being on injured reserve with a knee injury. Ellis is 3-0-1 with a 1.92 GAA in the last four games.
The Lightning also are expected to be without defenseman Randy Jones, who is best known in these parts for the infamous hit from behind that nearly ended Patrice Bergeron’s career in 2007. Jones suffered an upper-body injury on a hit from Atlanta’s Dustin Byfuglien on Sunday and did not practice on Monday. Jones’ absence would put Matt Smaby back in the lineup.
The Lightning are without forward Steve Downie, who remains sidelined after suffering a high ankle sprain against the Bruins back on Dec. 2. Downie has resumed skating but has not practiced with the team.
Former University of Vermont star Marty St. Louis is expected to play, which would extend his franchise record consecutive games streak to 427. He overcame a bout with the flu to play Sunday, collecting two assists and 11 stitches around his left eye in Atlanta, which won’t be enough to keep him out of the lineup in this one.
The Lightning have star center Vincent Lecavalier back. He missed 15 games with a broken right hand but has 3-2-5 totals in six games since returning on Dec. 15. All three goals have come in the last two games, including the overtime winner in a 3-2 victory over the Thrashers on Sunday.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-Marc Savard-Nathan Horton
Mark Recchi-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Blake Wheeler-David Krejci-Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille-Greg Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Steven Kampfer
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: Brad Marchand (undisclosed), Mark Stuart (broken hand)
Projected Lightning lines
Ryan Malone-Steven Stamkos-Marty St. Louis
Simon Gagne-Vincent Lecavalier-Sean Bergenheim
Mattias Ritola-Dominic Moore-Teddy Purcell
Adam Hall-Nate Thompson-Dana Tyrell
Mike Lundin-Mattias Ohlund
Brett Clark-Victor Hedman
Matt Smaby-Pavel Kubina
Scratches: Randy Jones (upper body)