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Tuukka Expected to Start, Lineup Determined Tonight

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

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BOSTON, MA - Heading into the compact season, with numerous back-to-backs, it was expected that backup goaltenders across the league would get more playing time.

And that has proved true on the B's roster, with Anton Khudobin having made four starts in Boston's first 18 games, including his first home win Saturday night in the 3-2 victory over Tampa.

Although there was no confirmation on the starting goaltender against the Montreal Canadiens (and the guessing will end as soon as the B's take the ice for warm-ups), given the way Coach has managed his goalie rotation so far this season, I can expect to see Tuukka between the pipes tonight.

"I think every team is going to tell you the same thing. When you get into the heavy schedule, you’re certainly going to need both of those [goaltenders] playing well for you," Coach Julien told media following the B's win Saturday night, on his goaltending tandem of Rask and Khudobin.

"There’s no doubt that in this situation, it’s more magnified just because of the fact that you’re playing every second night."

Though only 11 Bruins skated Sunday morning prior to the night's match-up, Rask was the only goaltender to hit the ice.

"I knew I was going to get more games, consecutive games and I just tried to be ready when the season started," said Rask, back in the locker room after his time on the ice. "That’s why I went over to Europe to play during the lockout. I just wanted to be ready."

If Rask is, indeed, in net tonight, he knows that - just like the tight match-up on February 6, in which the B's walked away with the 2-1 win in Montreal - the rivalry always breeds a tough battle.

"Great speed and skill. They’ve got the whole package there," said Rask, on what the Habs bring. "We got to respect that and even last year I thought they had it there. So they’re a good team."

Thornton "Team-First"

Though lines rushes had remained the same in warm ups prior to the game against the Lightning on Saturday, Shawn Thornton ended up being a healthy scratch for the first time this season and Jay Pandolfo was inserted into the lineup.

Thornton, however, didn't take it personally and always respects what is best for the team at any given moment.

"There’s no issues with Shawn. He’s always been a team first guy, so that wasn’t an issue," Coach Julien told media during pregame availability.

"We moved guys around and we’re still, as you want to put it, team tough. There’s other guys that can step up, as you saw yesterday. Those are things, like I said, in the tight schedule, you’re probably going to see more and more as we moved forward here."

"I think it’s important to have that kind of flexibility," Coach added, on being able to have lineup options. "Yesterday, we put Jay in there, and it was a good thing we had him in there because with all the penalties that we had, we needed some penalty killers, and Jay’s a great penalty killer. We had an extra guy there to help us out."

Despite the change last night, Coach said he would "probably decide tonight" what he's going to do with the lineup - though, he acknowledged that his players are always on the same page.

"You don’t always have to. Again, you don’t want to baby players," Coach said, when asked if he tells players that they're scratched ahead of time. "A lot of them, like Shawn, understand exactly what’s going on. He knows and he’s always had a great attitude."

"I told him just before we went out there, when he got to the rink, that I was contemplating maybe making a change and I wasn’t sure, and I was going to decide after the warm-up."

"Our guys know how we operate by now and there’s never been an issue with that."

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