BOSTON — The Bruins will close out their pre-holiday slate without one of their top scorers.
Boston hosts Florida on Friday at the Garden in the final game before a brief Christmas break, but forward Rich Peverley is going to get a longer rest. He has been held out of practice this week with a nagging undisclosed injury, and will also get Friday night off to have even more time off to heal.
"We're going to keep him out tonight and go with what we thought was the best plan here –- to give him a whole week and hopefully recover and be in better shape when he gets back," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the team's morning skate.
"There's value behind what we're doing here through his improvement," Julien added. "[It] does really help him and we talked about the possibility of that, and revisited it, and told him we'd make a decision and go forward with the fact that he's going to get basically a whole week before our next game. He's only missed one game, and that was the whole plan. Our schedule gets heavy after that, so this was a good time to take that the approach."
With Peverley out, Zach Hamill will move into his spot on the right wing on the third line alongside Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot. The other three lines will stay unchanged, with Jordan Caron remaining the healthy scratch up front. Steven Kampfer will also remain out on defense.
The Panthers don't have the luxury of healthy scratches as their forward corps has been decimated with injuries. Scottie Upshall (hip), Marcel Goc (concussion), Jack Skille (shoulder), Sean Bergenheim (groin), Mikael Samuelsson (tailbone) and Marco Sturm (swollen face) were already out, and top-line center Stephen Weiss suffered an upper-body injury when hit by Chris Neil in Ottawa on Thursday. Weiss will not play on Friday, throwing the Panthers' line combinations into further disarray.
Florida did not have a morning skate after falling 4-3 in overtime in Ottawa on Thursday night, so exactly how they will line up for is uncertain. Florida has just 11 healthy forwards, so the Panthers are expected to dress seven defensemen.
Jose Theodore, who made 40 saves for the shutout in a 2-0 win the last time the Panthers visited the Garden on Dec. 8, is expected to get the start in goal for Florida after Scott Clemmensen played Thursday in Ottawa. Tim Thomas is likely to get the start for Boston.
Frederick L'Ecuyer and Chris Rooney will be the referees, with Brian Murphy and Tony Sericolo working the lines.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Zach Hamill
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: Rich Peverley (undisclosed), Jordan Caron, Steven Kampfer
Projected Panthers lines
Tomas Fleischmann-Shawn Matthias-Kris Versteeg
Tomas Kopecky-Mike Santorelli-Matt Bradley
Bill Thomas-Tim Kennedy-Evgenii Dadonov
Krystofer Barch-Michal Repik
Ed Jovanovski-Keaton Ellerby
Jason Garrison-Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov-Mike Weaver
Scratches: Stephen Weiss (upper body), Marco Sturm (face), Sean Bergenheim (groin), Mikael Samuelsson (tailbone)
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