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Niklas Svedberg to Make NHL Debut vs Nashville; Soderberg, Hamilton Return to Lineup

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - The Bruins will get Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg back in the lineup on Thursday night at TD Garden, as the Bruins host the Nashville Predators.

But they'll also get another addition to the lineup, with Niklas Svedberg set to make his NHL debut after being recalled Thursday morning from Providence.

The netminder has earned the opportunity. In fact, his debut was supposed to come last Saturday, in December 28, in Ottawa, before the Bruins had to make two injury callups with Zdeno Chara and Carl Soderberg sidelined.

"Sveddy was supposed to play and Tuukka was supposed to back him up and then Johnny [Chad Johnson] was supposed to do some extra and not dress and then all of a sudden as we went along…we had to take Sveddy off [the roster] and tell Tuukka ‘you’re in’ and tell Johnny he’s backing up. It was one of those days where things like that happen and everybody has to adjust."

"Certainly one of those busy days where as a coach you’re scrambling trying to keep everybody informed and then trying to get everybody ready for that game that night."

He’s got to go out there and just play his game...I think he’s going to go in there and play with confidence, and if anything, he’s going to want to prove himself.Coach Julien, on Niklas Svedberg

Now, Svedberg will get his chance. In his second full season with the organization, the netminder has stayed the course, earning AHL Goalie of the Year honors in 2012-13, before stringing together a 13-5-3 record in Providence to start off 2013-14.

"That's how it works; you just move on, go back to Providence, play there and wait to get another chance," said Svedberg, of leaving Ottawa on Saturday to head back to the P-Bruins, instead of making his debut then. "And fortunately, I got that pretty soon here with this game."

Naturally, there are nerves, but if we saw anything from Svedberg's preseason performances, he's a very cool, calm netminder between the pipes.

"Right now, just trying to stay calm, focus on the game and what I'm going to do out there, so that's my only focus right now," Svedberg said after joining the team for pregame skate at TD Garden.

Tuukka hadn't found it necessary to be showering his wisdom and advice onto Svedberg.

"He has good advice but he's pretty much just letting me be, you know? Focus on my own self," he said.

We've already seen four NHL debuts this season, from Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman, David Warsofsky and Craig Cunningham. When a forward or defenseman make the jump, the Bruins' coaching staff can ease in their ice time.

No such chance for a netminder.

"He’s going to be fine," Julien calmly remarked. "You saw in the preseason games, I know preseason may not be exactly like a regular season game, but he seemed calm. His demeanor is very calm."

"He’s got to go out there and just play his game; I don’t think he’s going to be an overly excited goaltender that’s going to be thrown off his game. I think he’s going to go in there and play with confidence, and if anything, he’s going to want to prove himself."

"I’m looking forward to seeing him in net tonight."

Hamilton Making Return

Dougie Hamilton has missed 10 games with his lower-body injury suffered back on December 8, and he's finally back into action on Thursday night.

"I try not to think about the last couple of weeks now; I just try to focus on playing now," said Hamilton. "I just think to try to get into it right away and kind of get back into the groove and I'm sure it will take me a little bit, but just try to enjoy it and get back to having fun."

With Hamilton back in, Kevan Miller will likely be the healthy scratch on defense.

"Millsy should be the extra guy right now," Julien told reporters, before adding with a smirk, "But I’m telling you that and if something changes tonight, don’t hold it against me."

Soderberg Back In

The Bruins will also have Carl Soderberg back in the lineup, after he missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury. His presence should boost both his line with Matt Fraser and Ryan Spooner, and the power play.

"There’s a guy there who’s - he’s not a rookie, he’s not a young player - to me, he’s a veteran, he played in the [Swedish] Elite league for a long time," said Julien, of Soderberg.

His "veteran" persona will be welcome with young linemates Fraser and Spooner, who - along with Soderberg - combined for two goals and five assists in the Bruins' 6-2 win over Nashville before the holiday break.

"When he’s on that line, there’s a presence there; there’s size, there’s speed, and he’s not afraid to go in those dirty areas," said Julien. "It makes a difference for that line, so hopefully that happens again tonight."

Fellow teammate, Reilly Smith, is excited for Soderberg's return, too. As you know well by now, the duo have formed significant chemistry on the man-advantage.

"Yeah, hopefully we'll get that connection going again," smiled Smith.

Fraser to Make it 3-for-3 Against Nashville?

Before Soderberg was sidelined for the past two games, Matt Fraser and Ryan Spooner were starting to turn it on offensively, having grown more comfortable and confident up with Boston.

Fraser scored his second NHL goal and first as a Bruin last time out against Nashville on December 23. He's two-for-two against the Preds in his career, having scored his first NHL goal last season in Nashville (while with Dallas).

You can probably bank on him going three-for-three tonight.

Boston Projected Lineup

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith

Carl Soderberg-Ryan Spooner-Matt Fraser

Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Jordan Caron

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk

Matt Bartkowski-Dougie Hamilton

Adam McQuaid-Torey Krug

Starter: Niklas Svedberg

Backup: Tuukka Rask

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