Reigning Vezina and Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas is expected to get the start in goal, which will be just his second appearance in the club's first five exhibition games.
The Bruins will also have their top two lines intact for this one, with David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton skating together for the first time this preseason. After putting up three points in his first game alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, Rich Peverley will be back on the second line in Mark Recchi's old spot.
Chris Kelly was flanked by Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron and Gregory Campbell centered Daniel Paille and Chris Clark in the morning skate. Caron and Clark are among the forwards battling for the final spots up front, and Thursday's game will be one of their final chances to impress Claude Julien and Co. Caron is trying to avoid a return to Providence, while Clark is still seeking a contract after coming to camp on a tryout.
"We're at that stage where we've got some last decisions to make that aren't going to be easy," Julien said.
Julien is fine with having to make those tough decisions, as it is an indication of the depth of his club.
"I've always said, the tougher it on us, the better it is for the organization and for the team," Julien said. "Anything that's tough is usually good at this stage. If you had easy decisions and you've got your 20 guys and the 21st, 22nd guys are easy cuts, that doesn't say much about the depth of your hockey club. So I'd rather know that from the 20th on to the 26th, 27th are tough decisions."
Youngsters Max Sauve and Lane MacDermid are also in the mix for the final forward spots, but they'll face a more uphill climb as they are expected to be among the scratches in this one. Shawn Thornton and Tyler Seguin are also scheduled to get the night off up front, with Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk the scratches on defense and goalie Anton Khudobin also not dressing. Tuukka Rask will back up Thomas.
With Seidenberg and Boychuk getting some rest, Steven Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski will both play as the two young blueliners continue their competition for the seventh and final spot on defense. Kampfer was paired with Zdeno Chara in the morning skate, while Bartkowski skated with Adam McQuaid. Andrew Ference and newcomer Joe Corvo was the other pairing.