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At the Rink: Bruins at Blue Jackets

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- The Boston Bruins have been hit by injuries, the latest being a broken thumb sustained Tuesday by defenseman Adam McQuaid, but coach Claude Julien feels fortunate in one regard.

"We've had our fair share of injuries but I'm certainly not going to compare it to Columbus," he said of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Bruins' opponent Friday at Nationwide Arena. "They've had a lot more than we've had."

The Blue Jackets are at 124 man-games lost to injury while Boston is at 42, with 32 of them (76.2 percent) being defensemen. McQuaid will add a hefty number to that total; he is expected to be out six to eight weeks. Also, forward Brad Marchand will miss a second straight game with an undisclosed injury.

"We've had injuries this year so everyone has to play his game," Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski said. "We don't want anybody to try and make up for what's not there."

The Blue Jackets have six players out of the lineup but they are getting healthier. Forwards Matt Calvert and Jack Skille will return on a line with rookie center Alexander Wennberg.

"Matt's missed the last four games or so. I've missed the last four," Skille said. "He's ready to get in the lineup. I'm ready to get in the lineup. We've got a good line going right now."

Skille and Calvert were cleared to play Tuesday but coach Todd Richards elected to go with the same lineup against the Detroit Red Wings that had won the previous two games after a nine-game losing streak. The Red Wings defeated the Blue Jackets 5-0.

"I'm an energy guy so that's what I'm going to try and bring," Calvert said. "I'm going to try to get the puck deep to set up our forecheck."

He and Skille also hope to take pressure off Wennberg, who came in with high expectations but has struggled with two assists and a minus-14 rating in 17 games. Wennberg was No. 13 on the Top 60 prospects list (link to:

"It's tough for him," Calvert said. "He's had multiple linemates, probably more than eight his first few months of his NHL career. A big thing is in the defensive zone we get him talking and get really good at communicating."

Richards will make one other change, with defenseman Kevin Connauton making his Blue Jackets debut. Connauton was claimed off waivers Tuesday from the Dallas Stars after getting two assists and a plus-4 rating in eight games this season for the Stars.

"We're getting three new bodies in the lineup," Richards said. "Hopefully that will bring some positive energy for our group."

Here are the probable lineups:


Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Seth Griffith

Matt Fraser - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Simon Gagne - Gregory Campbell - Daniel Paille

Dennis Seidenberg - Kevan Miller

Joe Morrow - Dougie Hamilton

Matt Bartkowski - Torey Krug

Niklas Svedberg

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: Alexander Khokhlachev, Zach Trotman

Injured: Brad Marchand (undisclosed), Adam McQuaid (thumb), David Warsofsky (groin), Zdeno Chara (knee)


Boone Jenner - Ryan Johansen - Nick Foligno

Scott Hartnell - Artem Anisimov - Cam Atkinson

Matt Calvert - Alexander Wennberg - Jack Skille

Brian Gibbons - Adam Cracknell - Jared Boll

Jack Johnson - Dalton Prout

Kevin Connauton - James Wisniewski

Jordan Leopold - David Savard

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Tim Erixon, Corey Tropp

Injured: Cody Goloubef (knee), Ryan Murray (knee), Fedor Tyutin (knee), Brandon Dubinsky (abdominal surgery), Mark Letestu (groin), Nathan Horton (back)

Status report: Connauton replaces Erixon in the lineup. Erixon had played in 10 straight games and 17 of 18 this season. … Svedberg (2-3-0, 2.41 goals-against average) is expected to start with Rask being saved for the game Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Who's hot: The Bruins have won two straight and seven of the past nine games. They have scored 11 goals in the final two minutes of a period and are 6-2-0 when doing so.

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