The Bruins open a five-game road trip Monday night in Florida, and Boston will take on the Panthers with the same lineup that posted an impressive 4-1 win against Atlanta in its final game before the Christmas break on Thursday.
Milan Lucic remains in after avoiding a suspension for his match penalty against the Thrashers. He was fined $3,500 for his punch to Freddy Meyer's head and gesture to the Thrashers' bench, but he won't miss any time.
Brad Marchand, however, is expected to miss his third straight game with an undisclosed injury despite returning to practice on Sunday. He is traveling with the team and should return sometime on this trip, but not Monday in Florida.
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate, indicating he'll get the nod to start in this one. After Thursday's win, Thomas is now 16-4-3 this year and remains atop the NHL leaderboard with a 1.67 GAA, .949 save percentage and five shutouts. He is just 5-6-2 with a 3.18 GAA and an .899 save percentage against the Panthers, but he stopped 31 of 32 shots in a 3-1 win in Florida on Nov. 18.
The Panthers are expected to counter with former Boston College star Scott Clemmensen. He'll get a rare start in place of No. 1 netminder Tomas Vokoun. Clemmensen is just 2-4-0 with a 2.61 GAA and a .913 save percentage this year, but he has impressive career numbers against the Bruins at 5-3-0, 1.98 GA, .935 save percentage and two shutouts.
Injured Florida forwards Rostislav Olesz (broken finger), Radek Dvorak (shoulder) and Cory Stillman (back) all returned to practice on Sunday but aren't expected to play on Monday. Former Bruin Byron Bitz (sports hernia) has also resumed skating but remains several weeks away from returning. Defenseman Keaton Ellerby is expected to be the Panthers' only healthy scratch.
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, Mark Stuart (broken hand)
Projected Panthers lines
Chris Higgins-Stephen Weiss-Michael Frolik
David Booth-Mike Santorelli-Steve Bernier
Shawn Matthias-Marty Reasoner-Evgeny Dadonov
Steven Reinprecht-Bill Thomas-Darcy Hordichuk
Bryan McCabe-Mike Weaver
Jason Garrison-Dennis Wideman
Dmitry Kulikov-Bryan Allen
Scratches: Keaton Ellerby, Rostislav Olesz (broken finger), Radek Dvorak (shoulder), Cory Stillman (back), Bryon Bitz (sports hernia)
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