TAMPA – The Bruins team that will face the Lightning on Thursday won’t look the same as the one Tampa Bay defeated in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Injuries have taken a toll on Boston. And the list is not short.
• Center Patrice Bergeron remains out with a rib injury,
• Defenseman Charlie McAvoy remains out after experiencing concussion symptoms in late October
• Defenseman Kevan Miller remains out with a cartilage injury to his larynx
• Defenseman Urho Vaakanainen remains out with a concussion
However, captain Zdeno Chara is expected to return to the lineup Thursday for the first time after suffering a lower-body injury on Nov. 14.
Despite several holes in the Boston lineup, Lightning forward Ryan Callahan is not expecting an easy game.
“To their credit, they haven’t missed a beat,” Callahan said. “It seems like they keep winning games. They have a deep team obviously for guys to step in and replace those guys.”
The Bruins hold the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 14-9-4 record. But standings never matter much in this matchup. Not if you ask the players and coaches.
“I don’t think (their list of injuries) matters in the sense that it’s just two teams that we know come March and April are going to be starring at each other again,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “There’s just no extra needed motivation for this. This is just two teams that want to get after each other.”