MONTREAL -- Boston Bruins center Carl Soderberg missed the morning skate at Bell Centre in preparation for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
However, coach Claude Julien said Soderberg took his option and would be available to help the Bruins, who enter Game 4 down 2-1 in the best-of-7 series.
Even if Soderberg plays, there's anticipation of a lineup change for the Bruins because Thursday morning forward Matt Fraser was called up from Providence of the American Hockey League and forward Justin Florek was sent down to Providence. Florek has one goal in six games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but had been scratched since he last played in Game 1 against Montreal.
Fraser, 23, had two goals in 14 games for the Bruins during the regular season. With the Providence Bruins, he had 20 goals and 10 assists in 44 games. He had five points in five games for Providence in the playoffs. If he plays, it would be his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut.
"I don't know if words can really explain it," Fraser said. "I mean, I think as a kid you play for the Stanley Cup a thousand times on the streets and on the outdoor rink and stuff like that, not in this environment. It's exciting, obviously, for sure. I'm not trying to downplay that at all, but at the same time, once you get out there you've got to find your groove and just play your game."
Fraser's game is based around his quick release with his shot. Playing in the playoffs against a Montreal team that has averaged better than 20 blocks a game might make it difficult on Fraser.
"You always try to find your spots and get it off as quick as you can. It's probably even harder now with how tight the playoffs are and everything like that," Fraser said. "You've got to have confidence in yourself to hold onto that puck for that extra second so you can make that extra play, and when you get the chance then you let it go."
Julien said his lineup will be a game-time decision. The morning skate featured all the lines shuffled from their usual alignment, as Julien tried to loosen up his team before an important game.
"We have fun with things sometimes, and that's all we're doing right now," Julien said.
Fraser could replace forward Jordan Caron, who had been skating on the Bruins' fourth line with center Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. Fraser could move onto the third line with Soderberg and right wing Loui Eriksson to facilitate a "Merlot Line" reunion of left wing Daniel Paille with Campbell and Thornton.
"That line's been together, so there's no doubt that when you take one of those guys out of there, it's not the same thing," Julien said about the fourth line.
Here are the lineups, making the assumption the Bruins didn't bring up Fraser to have him sit in the press box:
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Reilly Smith
Matt Fraser – Carl Soderberg – Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara – Dougie Hamilton
Andrej Meszaros – Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
Scratched: Jordan Caron, Matt Bartkowski
Injured: Dennis Seidenberg (ACL/MCL), Chris Kelly (back), Adam McQuaid (ankle), Corey Potter (upper body)
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Brendan Gallagher
Michael Bournival – Tomas Plekanec – Thomas Vanek
Rene Bourque – Lars Eller – Brian Gionta
Travis Moen – Daniel Briere – Dale Weise
Josh Gorges – P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov – Alexei Emelin
Douglas Murray – Mike Weaver
Scratched: Ryan White, George Parros, Brandon Prust, Francis Bouillon
Injured: Alex Galchenyuk (lower body)