BLUES (20-11-4) at BRUINS (19-9-4)
TV: FS-MW, NESN
BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo will return from a three-game injury absence against the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden on Tuesday.
Rinaldo missed the past three games because of an upper-body strain. He will replace forward Max Talbot, who was suspended two games by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Monday.
"I'm really excited to be playing tonight," Rinaldo said. "Especially against a tough team like St. Louis is. So we need all of our guns blazing tonight and I think we'll come out strong."
Rinaldo has one goal and one assist in 26 games this season. Before the injury coach Claude Julien had Rinaldo, Talbot and Landon Ferraro as a line that could play against opposing second and third lines. While that line won't be together Tuesday, Julien said he hopes Rinaldo can continue his improved play and bring energy to the Bruins.
"When he's forechecking he's making things happen there," Julien said. "He's a guy that stats-wise probably has a little bit more talent than the stats indicate. I think for him it's always been a matter of confidence in being able to bring some of those practice things we see into a game situation."
The Bruins are 5-0-1 in their past six games and 11-1-3 in their past 15. Julien said he's been impressed by how the Bruins have matured.
"Just the way we've competed and our resiliency and not getting frustrated when things aren't going our way. Just sticking with it," he said.
The Blues arrived in Boston late Monday after they had their three-game winning streak ended in a 4-3 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers. The Blues had led 3-0 midway through the second period before allowing the Flyers to rally.
St. Louis did not hold a morning skate. Coach Ken Hitchcock had said Monday that forward Jordan Caron, selected by the Bruins with the 25th pick of the 2009 NHL Draft, would make his season debut here in place of Scott Gomez.
Here are the projected lineups:
Alexander Steen - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko
Magnus Paajarvi - David Backes - Troy Brouwer
Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Dmitrij Jaskin
Jordan Caron - Scottie Upshall - Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson - Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko
Injured: Patrik Berglund (shoulder) Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Steve Ott (hamstring), Kyle Brodziak (lower body)
Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Scott Gomez
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Brett Connolly
Matt Beleskey - David Krejci - Loui Eriksson
Frank Vatrano - Ryan Spooner - Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo - Landon Ferraro - Tyler Randell
Zdeno Chara - Adam McQuaid
Dennis Seidenberg - Colin Miller
Torey Krug - Kevan Miller
Injured: Chris Kelly (leg), Joonas Kemppainen (upper body), David Pastrnak (foot)
Scratched: Zach Trotman, Joe Morrow
Suspended: Max Talbot
Status report: If Allen starts in goal it will be his sixth start in seven games and the second time in that stretch that he's played both games of a back-to-back. ... Pastrnak is scheduled to play for Providence of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. It's his second game during a conditioning stint. He’s been out since Oct. 31.
Who's hot: Tarasenko has five goals and 10 points during a six-game point streak. ... Bergeron has three goals and six assists in his past eight games.