Lightning pregame: Boston Bruins banged up ahead of rivalry matchup

The Boston Bruins will play Thursday's game without some of their top players
Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) works to bat the puck into his possession with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) defending with Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the third period of Sundays (5/6/18) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round semifinal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena in Tampa. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times
Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) works to bat the puck into his possession with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) defending with Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the third period of Sundays (5/6/18) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round semifinal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena in Tampa. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times
Published December 6

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.” 

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