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At the Rink blog

Banged-up Bergeron still expects to play for Bruins

Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 2:08 PM

By Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Patrice Bergeron is one of four Boston Bruins to not miss a game this season, and it appears his streak will continue Thursday night against Florida despite two leg injuries in the last two games.

After being the only player on Boston's active roster not to practice Wednesday, one night after he was hit in the back of the leg by a slap shot from teammate Johnny Boychuk, Bergeron skated Thursday morning.

Coach Claude Julien said Bergeron would be a game-time decision, but the Bruins center sounded optimistic he would be ready to go against the Panthers.

"I felt OK," Bergeron said. "I'd like to be 100 percent, but that's part of the game and I'll be alright for tonight, hopefully. I've got to play through it. I'm no different than anyone else. It's part of the game. It shouldn't be an excuse."

Bergeron played only one shift in the third period of Sunday's 5-2 loss at Pittsburgh because of a lower-body injury, but that's unrelated to the injury sustained in the 6-1 loss at Tampa Bay Tuesday.

In that game, Bergeron was able to come back after missing only one shift. The center said there's no danger of aggravating the injury, that it's just a matter of pain tolerance.

Bergeron added he did see the shot from Boychuk.

"I just couldn't get out of the way," Bergeron said. "It's just one of those things where you're there, but you hope it's not going to hit you. But it did. Johnny's got a pretty good shot."

Among the other small group of Bruins players who skated Thursday morning was forward Benoit Pouliot, who has missed the last three games because of a lower-body injury.

He also will be a game-time decision.

Tim Thomas, who was pulled after one period against Pittsburgh in his last start before replacing Marty Turco Tuesday, is expected to start in net.

For the Panthers, Jose Theodore is expected to make his sixth consecutive start. Since a 5-0 loss at Philadelphia last Thursday, Theodore has allowed only three goals on 96 shots in his last three outings.

Up front, veteran Marco Sturm is expected to be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch four of the last six games. Sturm, who spent four-plus seasons with Boston before being traded to Los Angeles in December 2010, is expected to replace Mike Santorelli on the third line alongside Shawn Matthias and Tomas Kopecky.

Here are the projected lineups for the Bruins and Panthers:

BRUINS
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Jordan Caron
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille - Chris Kelly - Brian Rolston
Trent Whitfield - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference - Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon - Joe Corvo

Tim Thomas
Marty Turco

PANTHERS
Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Wojtek Wolski
Sean Bergenheim - Marcel Goc - Mikael Samuelsson
Marco Sturm - Shawn Matthias - Tomas Kopecky
Krystofer Barch - John Madden - Jerred Smithson

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Ed Jovanovski - Erik Gudbranson
Keaton Ellerby - Mike Weaver

Jose Theodore
Scott Clemmensen

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1