BOSTON — Claude Julien doesn't often reveal his starting netminder before the game, but he made an exception Tuesday after the morning skate at the Garden.
With back-to-back games and Tim Thomas' stellar record in Ottawa, where the Bruins visit on Wednesday, there was no real reason to hide the obvious choice of giving Tuukka Rask the start Tuesday night against Los Angeles at the Garden.
"Tuukka is in tonight," Julien said. "My goal obviously is to use Timmy tomorrow. Timmy's always been good, he's played some great games in Ottawa."
Perhaps Julien released that bit of news because there's already enough uncertainty about the rest of his lineup. Captain Zdeno Chara is expected to be out Tuesday after suffering a lower-body injury Saturday in Columbus. He did not participate in the morning skate, but Julien did say that Chara would travel with the team to Ottawa.
With Chara out, Steven Kampfer returns to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 17, but Julien stressed it would take a group effort with all of the defensemen stepping up their games to fill the void left by Chara's absence.
There will also be a void up front, as fourth-line center Gregory Campbell will be out after suffering a fracture in his foot when hit by a shot on Saturday.
"He's not going to play tonight," Julien said. "Obviously you didn't see him out there this morning. He's still dealing with that foot injury. There was a fracture in the foot, so not tonight and probably not tomorrow either, but from there on in he'll be day to day."
Daniel Paille, who has been out since suffering a mild concussion last Thursday, did skate this morning and could return to the lineup once the Bruins get the results of the final neuro-psych test he needed to pass to be cleared to play.
"It's a situation where he was really borderline," Julien said of Paille's concussion. "It was being overly cautious more than anything else with his situation. I don't know that he even failed a test more than it was just a precaution. He's passed everything so far. The last one was [Monday] afternoon. He went to the doctors and we're just kind of waiting for the final results and we'll go from there."
Paille has not faced contact since the injury, but Julien said that would not bar him from returning Tuesday if he gets the needed results from his test.
"If he's cleared, he's clear," Julien said. "He feels good and doesn't seem to have any symptoms."
There are still complications for Julien. With Campbell out, there is no natural center for the fourth line. Zach Hamill was recalled Monday and will likely center that line with Shawn Thornton and either Paille or Jordan Caron on the wings.
The Kings are going through plenty of changes themselves, with coach Terry Murray fired on Monday and John Stevens taking over on an interim basis. Stevens won't have to deal with Chara in his Kings debut, but he's more worried about how his own team responds to the change.
"He's a great player, and obviously he's a huge part of their team," Stevens said. "But in all honesty, our whole focus is on our team and what we're doing tonight and how we're going to try to tackle this as a group. Obviously we're going to be aware of Boston, but whether he's in or out I think there's going to be more time spent on us and just trying to get these guys mentally prepared to play after what just transpired."
Stevens was noncommittal in his lineup choices for Tuesday.
"There's been such a tight turn," Stevens said. "What we've decided to do is to put everybody in warm-up, everybody that's available and not injured. And we're going to decide on our lineup after warmup. But in all likelihood, I wouldn't expect to see wholesale changes."
Kyle Rehman and Dave Jackson will be the referees, with Brian Murphy and Rody Vaughan working the lines.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Jordan Caron-Zach Hamill-Shawn Thornton
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Steve Kampfer-Johnny Boychuk
Scratches: Zdeno Chara (lower body), Daniel Paille (concussion), Gregory Campbell (foot)
Projected Kings lines
Simon Gagne-Anze Kopitar-Dustin Penner
Dustin Brown-Jarret Stoll-Justin Williams
Brad Richardson-Andrei Loktionov-Trent Hunter
Kyle Clifford-Colin Fraser-Kevin Westgarth
Rob Scuderi-Drew Doughty
Jack Johnson-Matt Greene
Willie Mitchell-Slava Voyonov
Scratches: Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Davis Drewiske