The Boston Bruins can take a step closer to securing a spot in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs with a win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. It’s the second game of a back-to-back for Boston, which lost 3-0 to the Washington Capitals to begin a three-game road trip Wednesday.
The Bruins and Ottawa Senators are tied for the second wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 95 points, but Boston holds the first tiebreaker by having two more regulation or overtime wins (ROW).
B’s head coach Claude Julien changed his lines to start Wednesday’s game despite the previous combinations setting season highs with 80 shots attempts and 50 shots on goal in Saturday’s win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The move didn’t work, and by the third period, Julien went back to the lines he used throughout Boston’s recent five-game win streak, which included the Milan Lucic-Ryan Spooner-David Pastrnak trio reuniting.
Tuukka Rask is expected to make his 11th straight start with Boston in desperate need of two points. The reigning Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender is 12-1-1 with a 1.12 goals against average and a .960 save percentage against the Panthers in his career.
Roberto Luongo likely will start in net for the Panthers. He’s 13-13-2 with a 2.41 GAA and a .928 save percentage in his career versus the Bruins.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:
BOSTON BRUINS (41-26-13, fourth in Atlantic)
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Krejci
Milan Lucic-Ryan Spooner-David Pastrnak
Reilly Smith-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Gregory Campbell-Ryan Spooner-Brett Connolly
Zdeno Chara-Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug-Dennis Seidenberg
Matt Bartkowski-Zach Trotman
FLORIDA PANTHERS (36-29-15, sixth in Atlantic)
Jonathan Huberdeau-Aleksander Barkov-Jaromir Jagr
Brandon Pirri-Vincent Trocheck-Jimmy Hayes
Jussi Jokinen-Dave Bolland-Brad Boyes
Scottie Upshall-Derek MacKenzie-Shawn Thornton
Brian Campbell-Aaron Ekblad
Willie Mitchell-Erik Gudbranson
Dmitry Kulikov-Alex Petrovic
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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