BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins will have their full lineup Thursday night as they try to save their season in a third straight elimination game.
First-line center Marc Savard took part in the morning skate, showing no lingering signs of the knee-on-knee hit with Chad LaRose that knocked him out of the third period of Game 6. He took part in all the drills during a brisk morning skate at TD Banknorth Garden in anticipation of Thursday night's Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RIS).
"We'll have the same lineup tonight (as Game 6)," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "There shouldn't be any changes."
That means that Savard will be centering Phil Kessel and Milan Lucic once again, a line that Carolina has struggled to contain in the past two games. Kessel had two goals in Game 5 and Savard added a goal in Game 6.
The fact that Boston has its full lineup should be a boost of confidence in a Game 7, where anything can happen.
Many of these Bruins have only been in one Game 7 -- last year's first-round loss to Montreal -- so they need any confidence they can find, especially with Carolina owning a 3-0 record in its past three Game 7s.
But both Julien and veteran center Stephane Yelle, who has been in a team-high seven Game 7s, say that experience and past history will not be the final barometers for success in Thursday night's game.
"It's exciting," Yelle said. "Game 7, it sounds like a cliché, but Game 7s are what you play for and it is great to have it in our building. It's always special to be playing in front of your fans for a Game 7."
Yelle said he is ready to walk the younger players on his team through the experience.
"You just have to approach it like any other game, you can't worry too much on the outcome," Yelle said. "Play hard and play to win and try to have fun."
Julien, meanwhile, was busy trying to not only dispel some of Boston's unfavorable history heading into this Game 7 -- the loss last year against Montreal and the fact that Boston is the only Original Six team never to erase a 3-1 series deficit jump to mind -- in his pre-game availability.
"It doesn't matter what is being said right now," Julien said. "It's a lot of stats. Again, we lost that game, everybody is talking about Carolina being 3-for-3 and certainly they need to use that to their advantage. But, at the same time, the bottom line is what has happened in the past is not going to matter tonight.
"It's what you do out there tonight. And, that's why, from Day 1 in the playoffs, I have said I'm not big on stats. You have to live in the moment and you have to put those stats aside, because those players or those teams have nothing to do with our team today."
Contact Shawn P. Roarke at firstname.lastname@example.org