BOSTON — The Bruins will face a road-weary Florida team in their final game before the All-Star break on Wednesday.
While the Bruins were traveling back from Los Angeles on Tuesday, the Panthers were in New York, where they beat the Rangers 4-3. The Panthers blew a 3-1 lead in the third, but Mike Weaver scored on Florida's only shot of the final period at 11:41 for the victory.
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice at the Bruins' morning skate, indicating he will likely get the start in this one before heading to Raleigh for the All-Star Game.
With Marc Savard sidelined with another concussion, the Bruins don't have any healthy bodies up front to scratch, but Claude Julien will have a choice to make on defense.
The Bruins have seven healthy blueliners for six spots, and Julien stated it would be a game-time decision on who will sit for this one. Mark Stuart has been the healthy scratch the last two games, but could return to the lineup in Adam McQuaid's spot.
"I think that's the thing with our situation is you know, we had Stuey out for quite a while [with a broken hand] and then the six guys did a pretty good job," Julien said. "They did a really good job actually. And you've got make sure you don't penalize those guys just because Stuey comes back, but at the same time Stuey's a good player for us and we've got to hopefully keep him going as well, so we're going to try and balance that out. And then to be honest with you tonight we're probably going to make a game-time decision on who's going to be in, who's going to be out."
The Panthers remain without former Bruin Byron Bitz (sports hernia) and defenseman Bryan McCabe (broken jaw), but did get goalie Tomas Vokoun, forward Chris Higgins and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov back from injuries on Tuesday.
Vokoun missed two games with a pulled muscle, but stopped 32 of 35 shots he faced against the Rangers. The Panthers, who held just an optional skate Wednesday morning, may opt to rest Vokoun rather than play him back-to-back nights, which would give former Boston College star Scott Clemmensen a chance to start. Clemmensen is 5-3-1 with a 1.96 GAA against the Bruins.
Projected Bruins lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Blake Wheeler-Tyler Seguin-Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Steven Kampfer
Dennis Seidenberg-Johnny Boychuk
Mark Stuart-Andrew Ference
Scratches: Marc Savard (concussion), Adam McQuaid
Projected Panthers lines
Chris Higgins-Stephen Weiss-Evgeny Dadonov
David Booth-Shawn Matthias-Michael Frolik
Cory Stillman-Marty Reasoner-Radek Dvorak
Darcy Hordichuk-Mike Santorelli-Rostislav Olesz
Bryan Allen-Dennis Wideman
Jason Garrison-Mike Weaver
Keaton Ellerby-Dmitry Kulikov
Scratches: Steve Bernier, Joe Callahan