BOSTON — The Bruins can clinch a playoff spot Thursday against Washington, but they'll have to do it without one of their top defensemen.

Dennis Seidenberg, whose reunion with Zdeno Chara on the top pairing has helped turn things around for the Bruins, did not participate in the morning skate and will miss his first game of the season with a leg infection from a cut suffered in Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Kings in Los Angeles.

"In L.A. he suffered a cut on his leg," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "They stitched it up and everything was good, but a little infection has gotten into it now so he's on antibiotics and just to play it safe we're going to keep him out. It's just day to day. It's not long term.

"He got a skate across the leg," Julien added. "It was a pretty good cut. The doctors in L.A. did a good job, but those things happen. A little bit of infection, so our doctors are taking care of that. We're going to keep him out tonight, and hopefully have him next game."

With Seidenberg out, Joe Corvo returns to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last six games. While the Bruins snapped a four-game losing streak and have won five of six since sitting Corvo, Julien didn't want to draw a link between Corvo's departure from the lineup and the team's turnaround.

"He's as mobile as any defenseman we have here, probably one of the best, and he skates the puck up the ice well," Julien said. "He's got a lot of good assets to his game, and the fact that he was pulled out when we weren't going well, I know a lot of people have kind of assumed he’s the one that was the weak link. He wasn't, and hopefully he has an opportunity to show that tonight."

Julien also stated that he was "probably" sticking with same lines up front, which would leave Daniel Paille as the healthy scratch for the third straight game.

Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate and is expected to get the start in goal.

For Washington, Tomas Vokoun is expected to return in goal, playing his first game since suffering a groin injury on March 16. Center Nicklas Backstrom, out since Jan. 3 with a concussion, and forward Joel Ward, who has missed the last three games with a foot injury, both participated in the morning skate, but are not expected to return to action yet.

Ian Walsh and Stephen Walkom will be the referees, with Tony Sericolo and Brian Murphy working the lines.

Projected Bruins lines

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Tyler Seguin
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Rich Peverley
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Brian Rolston
Jordan Caron-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Greg Zanon-Joe Corvo

Tim Thomas
Marty Turco

Scratches: Dennis Seidenberg (leg), Mike Mottau, Daniel Paille, Torey Krug, Nathan Horton (concussion), Tuukka Rask (groin)

Projected Capitals lines

Marcus Johansson-Brooks Laich-Alex Ovechkin
Jason Chimera-Mathieu Perreault-Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks-Jay Beagle-Troy Brouwer
Mike Knuble-Cody Eakin-Keith Aucoin

Karl Alzner-Dennis Wideman
Roman Hamrlik-Mike Green
Dmitry Orlov-John Carlson

Tomas Vokoun
Michal Neuvirth

Scratches: John Erskine, Jeff Halpern, Joel Ward (foot), Jeff Schultz, Braden Holtby, Nicklas Backstrom (concussion)

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