The Bruins return to action Tuesday night in Carolina, where Tim Thomas hopes to earn another victory after winning his third straight All-Star Game decision in Raleigh on Sunday.
Thomas was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate as the Bruins prepared for their final matchup of the season with the Hurricanes, traditionally the indication of who will be starting that night's game.
Thomas starting is no surprise, as he came into the All-Star break with a 24-5-6 record and leading the league with a 1.81 GAA, .945 save percentage and seven shutouts.
The Bruins will hopefully play better defense in front of him than what he saw from both sides in the All-Star Game, which Team Lidstrom won 11-10 over Team Staal, the latter led by Carolina captain Eric Staal.
That Bruins' defense likely won't include Mark Stuart though. He stayed on the ice for extra work after the morning skate and is expected to be a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game. Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters after the skate that the decision to sit Stuart was not due to any issues with the veteran's play, but rather a result of the strong play and chemistry of the rest of the defense, in particular the emergence of rookies Steven Kampfer and Adam McQuaid.
"I don't think it's a reflection of his play, more than it's what the other six guys have been giving us," Julien said. "Right now it's a numbers game and he's a victim of that. He's certainly not a victim of his play, but a victim of numbers."
The only change for the Bruins in the skate was a switch of positions on the third line, where Blake Wheeler shifted over to center and rookie Tyler Seguin moved back to wing.
Cam Ward, who started the All-Star Game for Team Staal, will get the start in this game as well for the Hurricanes. Ward is 22-15-5 with a 2.70 GAA and a .920 save percentage. He has two shutouts this season, one of which came in a 37-save performance against the Bruins back on Nov. 26.
Projected Bruins lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Michael Ryder-Blake Wheeler-Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Steven Kampfer
Dennis Seidenberg-Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: Marc Savard (concussion), Mark Stuart
Projected Hurricanes lines
Sergei Samsonov-Eric Staal-Erik Cole
Chad LaRose-Jeff Skinner-Tuomo Ruutu
Jussi Jokinen-Brandon Sutter-Jiri Tlusty
Patrick Dwyer-Ryan Carter-Troy Bodie
Joni Pitkanen-Jamie McBain
Tim Gleason-Joe Corvo
Ian White-Jay Harrison
Powered by WordPress.com VIP