Max Sauve to Make NHL Debut With Benoit Pouliot Out, Andrew Ference Could Return for Bruins

The Bruins and Penguins will both be at less than full strength as two of the top teams in Eastern Conference clash Sunday in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins have won eight straight despite their myriad of injuries, and they are about to get much healthier. They aren't likely to get many reinforcements for Sunday's game however. Star center Sidney Crosby was cleared for contact and initially eyed this game as a possible return date, but now is targeting Thursday's showdown with the Rangers as a possibility for his return from his latest concussion.

Standout defenseman Kris Letang (concussion) and physical blueliner Deryk Engelland both practiced on Saturday but will not play Sunday. They also could be back on Thursday. Defenseman Paul Martin, who missed practice Saturday with an illness, is questionable for Sunday.

On the Bruins side, Benoit Pouliot will miss his second straight game with a lower-body injury. He was a surprising scratch Saturday after warm-ups, forcing the Bruins to dress seven defensemen and use Mike Mottau as a forward. They're better prepared for Sunday, with forward Max Sauve having been recalled from Providence. Sauve will make his NHL debut against Pittsburgh.

Andrew Ference (lower body) could also return. He will take warm-ups and be a game-time decision. Mottau and Daniel Paille (upper body) skated earlier in the morning and appear to be out for this one.
Bruins coach Claude Julien would again not reveal his starting goalie before the game. It's possible newcomer Marty Turco could see his first action as a Bruin with Tim Thomas having appeared in eight straight games and started the last four, including Saturday's 4-3 loss to Washington. Thomas will have to rest at some point, but there's no indication yet if that will come against the Penguins.

Marc Joanette and Mike Leggo will be the referees, with Michel Cormier and Derek Amell working the lines.

Projected Bruins lines

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Tyler Seguin
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jordan Caron
Max Sauve-Chris Kelly-Brian Rolston
Lane MacDermid-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Greg Zanon-Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Marty Turco

Scratches: Nathan Horton (concussion), Rich Peverley (knee), Daniel Paille (upper body), Andrew Ference (lower body), Tuukka Rask (groin), Benoit Pouliot (lower body), Mike Mottau

Projected Penguins lines

Chris Kunitz-Evgeni Malkin-James Neal
Steve Sullivan-Jordan Staal-Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke-Joe Vitale-Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham-Craig Adams-Richard Park

Brooks Orpik-Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen-Simon Despres
Brian Stait-Ben Lovejoy

Marc-Andre Fleury
Brad Thiessen

Scratches: Sidney Crosby (concussion), Deryk Engelland (lower body), Paul Martin (illness), Kris Letang (concussion), Dustin Jeffrey (illness), Brent Johnson, Eric Tangradi

Have a question for Douglas Flynn? Send it to him via Twitter at @douglasflynn or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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