The Boston Bruins continue their three-game road trip Saturday night against the Florida Panthers. The B’s are 1-0-0 versus the Panthers this season and these teams will play three more times before the regular season concludes April 11.
Saturday’s game is very important for both teams as the race for the two wild-card playoff spots in the Eastern Conference heats up. Boston has a five-point lead over Florida entering Saturday’s action.
Bruins center David Krejci’s status for Saturday’s game is unknown. He has missed the last 12 games with a partially torn MCL in his left knee. Krejci is progressing well, but it appears a game-time decision is upcoming.
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If Krejci does play against the Panthers, it’s possible Reilly Smith could exit the lineup as a healthy scratch. Smith is in an 11-game goalless drought and has scored just three goals in the last 34 games.
Tuukka Rask likely will start in net for Boston. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner is 11-1-0 with a .963 save percentage and a 1.07 goals against average. He gave up five goals in a 6-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo is expected to start against the Bruins. He’s 12-12-2 with a .928 save percentage and a 2.45 GAA all-time versus Boston.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:
BOSTON BRUINS (36-24-11, fourth in Atlantic)
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Milan Lucic-Ryan Spooner-David Pastrnak
Chris Kelly-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Max Talbot
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Dennis Seidenberg-Matt Bartkowski
FLORIDA PANTHERS (32-25-14, sixth in Atlantic)
Jonathan Huberdeau-Aleksander Barkov-Jaromir Jagr
Brandon Pirri-Nick Bjugstad-Brad Boyes
Jussi Jokinen-Dave Bolland-Jimmy Hayes
Shawn Thornton-Derek MacKenzie-Scottie Upshall
Brian Campbell-Aaron Ekblad
Willie Mitchell-Erik Gudbranson
Dmitry Kulikov-Alex Petrovic
Thumbnail photo via Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports Images