Ottawa pays a visit to the Garden on Tuesday trailing Boston by just four points, though the Bruins do have five games in hand on the Senators.
The Bruins will be without forward Nathan Horton and defenseman Andrew Ference. Horton remains sidelined with a concussion suffered before the break, while Ference is serving the final game of his three-game suspension.
Steven Kampfer will remain in the lineup replacing Ference, though Kampfer has seen limited time in his first two games filling in for Ference, playing just 3:15 and 8:16 in those contests.
Rich Peverley will again take Horton’s spot on the top line alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic, while Zach Hamill skates in Peverley’s previous spot with Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot on the third line. Peverley brings a different dimension to the Krejci line by adding some additional speed and has shown chemistry with that unit in the past, most notably filling in for Horton during the Stanley Cup Final.
“Well for now, that’s the situation,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of using Peverley there. “You know, Richard Peverley did a great job, I think, in stepping in last year when Horts got hurt. I think what he brings is that speed that you talked about. He’s got good hands, good speed. And even his game, I think he wants to be a little bit better than he has been lately. So, he’d like to elevate his game a little bit. If he does that I think he’ll be a great guy to be in that position for now. But that’s the decision that we think is the best one so far, and we’ll certainly hope that it works. But if not, then we’ll look at moving some other guys around.”
Julien will also continue using both of his goalies, and didn’t tip his hand on who would get the start for this game. Tim Thomas has outstanding career numbers against Ottawa (21-8-2, 1.95 GAA, .938 save percentage, 6 shutouts) and was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate, but Thomas has been shaky of late and Tuukka Rask came off right behind him as the whole team left the ice together.
“I want to continue to utilize both,” Julien said. “But again, their play will certainly, I guess, influence our decision as how much one plays versus the other, and so on and so forth. We’re in a good position there where we’ve got two good goaltenders and we’ve got to keep going with the hot hand. And when I say the hot hand, if they’re both hot, they’re both playing. If one’s hotter than the other, then the other one plays a little bit more than the other. But no matter what, with that schedule that we just talked about, you’re going to see both of them playing.”
Ottawa coach Paul MacLean didn’t leave any mysteries about his lineup. There will be no changes in his game-time roster as defenseman Brian Lee is the only extra skater with the team and is not ready to return from a lower-body injury. MacLean also confirmed that Craig Anderson will get the start in goal.
Rob Martell and Dan O’Rourke will be the referees, with Andy McElman and Tim Nowak working the lines.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Rich Peverley
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
Steven Kampfer-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: Andrew Ference (suspension), Nathan Horton (concussion)
Projected Senators lines
Milan Michalek-Jason Spezza-Colin Greening
Nick Foligno-Kyle Turris-Daniel Alfredsson
Erik Condra-Zack Smith-Chris Neil
Kaspars Daugavins-Zenon Konopka-Bobby Butler
Filip Kuba-Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen-Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips-Matt Carkner
Scratches: Brian Lee (lower body)