While one injured forward will go back into the lineup for the Boston Bruins, another will be coming out.
The Bruins are set to host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday at TD Garden, and the expectation is Patrice Bergeron will make his return after a two-game absence, while Brett Ritchie will be sidelined once again.
Bergeron has been dealing with a lower-body injury that, while not serious, head coach Bruce Cassidy made clear the team wasn’t going to test. Now that he’s all good though, Bergeron will return to centering the top line with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
Ritchie had missed time with an infection, similar to what Joakim Nordstrom was dealing with. But after getting back in for Tuesday’s win over the New Jersey Devils after missing the previous five contests, Ritchie comes back out after the infection flared back up. Ritchie had skated on the second line, so in his absence, Charlie Coyle will occupy that spot while Par Lindholm centers the third line.
Ex-Bruin Marcus Johansson, now with the Sabres, is on IR with an upper-body, so he won’t play Thursday. However, Colin Miller, a routine healthy scratch lately, is expected to skate on Buffalo’s third defensive pairing with Henri Jokiharju.
Tuukka Rask will be in net for the Bruins. Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger was unwilling to announce who would be in net for the visitors, but Linus Ullmark just two days ago got dusted by the lowly Minnesota Wild, so now would be as good a time as any for Buffalo to give Carter Hutton a look.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:
BOSTON BRUINS (13-3-5)
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk–David Krejci–Charlie Coyle
Anders Bjork–Par Lindholm–Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom–Sean Kuraly–Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara–Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk–Brandon Carlo
Urho Vaakanainen–Connor Clifton
BUFFALO SABRES (7-8-4)
Jimmy Vesey–Jack Eichel–Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner–Evan Rodrigues–Conor Sheary
Zemgus Girgensons–Johan Larsson–Curtis Lazar
Victor Olofsson–Casey Mittelstadt–Rasmus Asplund
Jake McCabe–Rasmus Ristolainen
Rasmus Dahlin–Brandon Montour
Henri Jokiharju–Colin Miller
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images