AVALANCHE (5-9-1) at BRUINS (7-6-1)
TV: ALT, NESN
BOSTON -- Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg could make his season debut against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday at TD Garden.
Seidenberg had back surgery Sept. 24 and was expected to be out eight weeks; if he plays against the Avalanche it will be seven weeks to the day of his surgery. He'll be a game-time decision, according to coach Claude Julien
"You always hope to come back quicker," said Seidenberg, who had three goals, 14 points and a minus-1 rating in 82 games last season for Boston. "They said eight weeks; so it'll be seven if I'm playing. You've always got to be smart about when to return and that's what I’m going to do."
Julien said that there are other game-time decisions among his defense corps. Another could be Torey Krug, who did not practice that past two days because of an undisclosed injury.
Goaltender Reto Berra will get his third straight start for the Avalanche. Berra has two shutouts in six games, including a 25-save shutout against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who hasn't played since Nov. 5, is out because of a groin injury.
Last season Varlamov missed 15 games because of a groin injury, but coach Patrick Roy isn't worried about an extended absence.
"I don't know if it's the same area but it's not as serious as it was last year," Roy said. "We just don't want to take a chance. Especially the fact that we were going with Reto, I think it's a smart decision by us to take our time."
Here are the projected lineups:
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Matt Duchene
Blake Comeau - Carl Soderberg - Jarome Iginla
Cody McLeod - Mikhail Grigorenko - Dennis Everberg
Andreas Martinsen - John Mitchell - Jack Skille
Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson
Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie
Brandon Gormley - Nate Guenin
Injured: Brad Stuart (back), Semyon Varlamov (groin), Alex Tanguay (knee), Jesse Winchester (concussion)
Scratched: Ben Street
Matt Beleskey - Patrice Bergeron - Brett Connolly
Frank Vatrano - David Krejci - Loui Eriksson
Brad Marchand - Ryan Spooner - Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo - Joonas Kemppainen - Tyler Randell
Zdeno Chara - Colin Miller
Dennis Seidenberg - Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug - Kevan Miller
Injured: Chris Kelly (leg)
Scratched: Joe Morrow, Zach Trotman
Status report: Stuart returned to Denver because of his back injury. … Guenin will play for the first time in five games. ... Roy said that Mitchell is probable to return from an oblique injury and a decision about who's scratched will be made after the warmup. Street seems the likely candidate because he's also a center.
Who's hot: MacKinnon two goals and four assists during his four-game point streak. ... Krejci leads the Bruins with 17 points; he has points in two straight games, and at least one point in 11 of 14 games.