The Boston Bruins, in desperate need of a road win to close out a dreadful West Coast trip, will get reinforcements for the final game of the trip on Saturday night.
Both Loui Eriksson (concussion) and Shawn Thornton (suspension) are expected to be in the lineup for Saturday night's game against the San Jose Sharks. Both players have been out of action since December 7th. Eriksson sustained his second concussion of the season during the first shift of the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Thornton was suspended for his actions in retaliation of the hit on Eriksson by Brooks Orpik.
Thornton will be added to the "Merlot Line" with familiar teammates Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille. Eriksson will likely be placed with Carl Soderberg and Ryan Spooner on the third line. Eriksson started the year on the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, but in his absence Reilly Smith has emerged as top-6 forward, leading the Bruins in goals scored this season. The first line of Jarome Iginla, Milan Lucic, and David Krejci will undoubtedly remain untouched.
The two additions will hopefully shore up a suddenly porous Bruins defense, which has given up nine goals in their last two games and 3.50 goals in their last six games (2-4-0). Tuukka Rask, who was pulled in the second period of the Bruins' recent 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, was the first goalie off the ice in today's practice and will likely start in net for Boston. Rask has struggled mightily as of late, surrendering 17 goals in his last five starts and getting pulled in the second period in two of those games.
Justin Florek, who scored his first career NHL goal in Thursday's night loss to the Kings, and Matt Fraser look to be the two healthy scratches for the Bruins. The B's will have to make some roster moves prior to their next game on Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Bruins will be missing defenseman Johnny Boychuk for tonight's game, as he remained in Boston for a personal issue. Kevan Miller will replace Boychuk against the Sharks.