VANCOUVER — The Bruins will face a relatively unfamiliar foe when they take on Western Conference champion Vancouver as the Stanley Cup Final gets under way on Wednesday, but they'll likely do it with a familiar lineup.
The Bruins didn't skate Wednesday morning because of the early 5 p.m. start out West, but they aren't expected to make any changes to the lineup they used to close out Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Final.
That would leave Shawn Thornton, Shane Hnidy and Steven Kampfer as the healthy scratches, but it's possible Thornton could return to the lineup as he's one of just two Bruins with a Stanley Cup ring on his resume.
It's a tough choice for Bruins coach Claude Julien to decide who to sit out, but he's happy with the depth at his disposal on his club.
"I think everybody in the Stanley Cup Finals has a big role to play," Julien said. "If you're just relying on just a couple players, you're probably going to end up on the disappointing end of the Finals. For us, I know that our whole roster has played a huge role at one point or another during the season and throughout the playoffs. So we don't expect that to change.
"We feel good about our depth," Julien added. "Depth means you have more than two lines. We feel good about our depth on the back end. Again, that means that guys that are in the lineup are guys that we feel good about. That hasn't changed. I'm happy with what our team has as far as depth is concerned. Hopefully we'll be able to utilize that."
The Canucks also have plenty of depth, especially on defense, where Keith Ballard, Christopher Tanev and former Bruin Andrew Alberts are expected to sit out with Aaron Rome and Christian Ehrhoff returning to the lineup after missing the final two games of the Western Conference Final because of injuries.
The news doesn't appear as good for Vancouver up front, where Manny Malhotra is attempting to come back from a gruesome eye injury suffered in March. He's been cleared for contact in practice, but isn't expected to play in Game 1.
"Manny is the same as he was yesterday," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "He's day to day. Not skating today."
When asked if that meant Malhotra was definitely out for Game 1, Vigneault responded simply, "We don't discuss lineup possibilities."
Vigneault will have to make some choices on his fourth line even if Malhotra remains out. He has rotated Jeff Tambellini, Alexandre Bolduc, Tanner Glass, Victor Oreskovich and Cody Hodgson on that unit in the playoffs.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Michael Ryder- Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell- Rich Peverley
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: Shawn Thornton, Shane Hnidy, Steven Kampfer, Matt Bartkowski, Jordan Caron, Jamie Arniel, Trent Whitfield, Anton Khudobin
Projected Canucks lines
Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Alex Burrows
Christopher Higgins-Ryan Kesler-Mason Raymond
Raffi Torres-Maxim Lapierre-Jannik Hansen
Jeff Tambellini-Alexandre Bolduc-Tanner Glass
Alexander Edler-Christian Ehrhoff
Dan Hamhuis-Kevin Bieksa
Sami Salo-Aaron Rome
Scratches: Manny Malhotra (eye), Keith Ballard, Christopher Tanev, Andrew Alberts, Victor Oreskovich, Aaron Volpatti, Cory Hodgson, Sergei Shirokov