The Bruins are severely banged up at forward and on defense, but the one constant remains Tuukka Rask in the net. He has been great all season and is coming off of a 28 save performance in a 3-2 win over the Penguins. He is 15-7-2 with 1.91 GAA and .934 SV% and is a must-start every night.
Hamilton will be out two-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury.
The Bruins defenseman continue to drop like flies as now they are down to just five healthy defensemen. Hamilton play just 5:58 before leaving Sunday's game vs. the Maple Leafs. The Bruins are unsure if Johnny Boychuk will be available tonight. Unless someone is recalled soon, the Bruins will play with five D-men if Boychuk can't go.
The Bruins have recalled forward Nick Johnson from Providence on an emergency basis.
Johnson has 11 goals and nine assists (20 points) in 23 games with the Providence Bruins this seasons. He has played in 104 NHL games tallying 14 goals and 37 points with the Penguins, Wild and Coyotes. Daniel Paille is unable to play tonight so Johnson slides right into the lineup to make his Bruins debut.
Niemi was not very busy on Sunday stopping just 10 of 12 shots, but Josh Harding was magnificent and Niemi walked away with the loss. Niemi has been very streaky this season but the overall product has been good. He enters tonight's matchup with the Islanders at 16-5-5 with a 2.30 GAA and .914 SV%. Niemi is a must-start tonight.
After starting 54 games between 2007-13 with the Kings, Bernier will face his former team on Wednesday. He held and 29-20-6 record during his time in Los Angeles, but it is his 9-8-2 record with the Maple Leafs that he cares about now. It is a tough matchup, but the extra fire from facing his old team makes him a strong play.
Varlamov allowed eight goals on 28 shots in a blowout loss to the Oilers last Thursday. He was skipped over when he was scheduled to start on Sunday, but will be back in the crease tonight vs. Phoenix. He stopped 41 of 44 shots in a 4-3 OT win vs. the Coyotes on November 21.
Lupul (groin) will return tomorrow, barring any unforeseen setback.
Lupul missed the last seven games but is expected to return tomorrow and skate on the third line with Peter Holland and Nikolai Kulemin. Lupul will also replace Mason Raymond on the second power-play unit. Lupes has eight goals and seven assists in 22 games.
Raanta allowed two goals on 31 shots in a win over the Panthers after relieving an injured Corey Crawford on Sunday. He gets the call tonight in Dallas to face a Stars team coming off of a convincing win over the Flyers. Raanta will serve as the Blackhawks number-1 until Crawford returns, making him a solid pick-up and short-term goalie help.