BOSTON – The Boston Bruins will finish a string of three straight games against teams that aren’t going to be in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on Thursday.
The Bruins are 1-1-0 during this stretch, where they’ve found out just how hard the non-contenders are competing even with little more than pride on the line. Considering his team’s disappointing performance in a 5-2 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, Bruins coach Claude Julien knows his team cannot take anyone lightly.
“It’s a team that played, I thought, a really good game [Wednesday] night,” Julien said of the Lightning. “I watched them play, and I think you just have to look around at the schedule the other night, all the playoff-seeded teams, almost every one of them except for Washington, lost. So it goes to show you teams aren’t giving up. They’re coming out and playing some solid hockey. When you know you’ve only got 'X' number of games left and you want to finish on a positive note, you play your best. And that’s what we should expect from Tampa [on Thursday] night.”
The Bruins are almost completely healthy, with only Nathan Horton battling an injury. Julien said Horton skated Thursday morning but he is still day-to-day and will not face the Lightning.
The game with Tampa Bay will be Horton’s third game missed since he was injured against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday.
Tampa Bay did not hold a morning skate after flying in from Tampa after a win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams: