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Preview: Bruins at Lightning

Boston gets forward David Pastrnak back after suspension, goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy will play for Tampa Bay

by Corey Long / Correspondent

BRUINS (5-4-0) at LIGHTNING (6-4-0)

7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, NESN, NHL.TV


Bruins team scope

Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak will return from a two-game suspension. Pastrnak, who leads the Bruins with five goals, was suspended by the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit on Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi on Oct. 26. Center Patrick Bergeron said he expects Pastrnak to continue his strong play. "It's nice to have him back," Bergeron said. "He brings a lot of energy on the ice and creates a lot with his speed. It's going to be a plus having him for all of us." Sean Kuraly will make his NHL debut on a line with Riley Nash and Jimmy Hayes. Coach Claude Julien is hoping Kuraly can give the struggling line a boost offensively. He'll take the place of Matt Beleskey, who will sit. "[Beleskey] certainly hasn't found his game," Julien said. "We need better from him and we've done everything we can to help him out so right now I feel it's not a bad thing to take a step back and watch a game."


Lightning team scope

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin has an upper-body injury and will not play Thursday. He will be evaluated by team doctors, but coach Jon Cooper said there's no timetable for his return after a hit by New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan on Tuesday. "He's a guy that, every time he's on the ice, he has the ability to score for you," Cooper said of Drouin. "It hurts a little bit not having him in." The Lightning, coming off a 6-1 win against the Islanders in the finale of a six-game road trip, want to get out to better starts. They've scored six first-period goals in 10 games, three of them against the Islanders. But scoring at any time will be tough to do against Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who is 5-0-0 with a 1.20 goals-against-average and .961 save percentage. "He's played extremely well, he's one of the best in the NHL for a reason," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "It's going to take a lot to get to him [Thursday]." Backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy will start his fourth game of the season after Ben Bishop played the previous two. Vasilevskiy is 2-1-0 with a 2.05 goals-against-average and .929 save percentage. The Lightning are holding "Hockey Fights Cancer" on Thursday and will wear lavender jerseys for pregame warm-ups.


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Ryan Spooner -- David Krejci -- Austin Czarnik

Sean Kuraly -- Riley Nash -- Jimmy Hayes

Tim Schaller -- Dominic Moore -- Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara -- Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug -- Adam McQuaid

John-Michael Liles -- Colin Miller

Tuukka Rask

Zane McIntyre

Scratched: Matt Beleskey, Joe Morrow

Injured: David Backes (upper body), Kevan Miller (knee), Frank Vatrano (foot), Anton Khudobin (upper body).


Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Steven Stamkos -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Tyler Johnson -- Brayden Point

J.T. Brown -- Valtteri Filppula -- Ryan Callahan

Cedric Paquette -- Brian Boyle -- Vladislav Namestnikov

Victor Hedman -- Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison -- Andrej Sustr

Slater Koekkoek -- Braydon Coburn

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Nikita Nesterov

Injured: Jonathan Drouin (upper body)


Status report

Julien said Backes skated Wednesday and it's possible he could return Saturday against the New York Rangers. …. Koekkoek is in the lineup for the second consecutive game after being was recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League. He had two assists in the win against the Islanders.


Who's hot

Marchand scored on a penalty shot Tuesday against the Florida Panthers and leads the Bruins with 11 points (four goals, seven assists). … Kucherov had two goals and two assists against the Islanders.

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