BRIGHTON, Mass – Noel Acciari took a puck to the face in Tuesday's win over the San Jose Sharks that required extensive dental surgery the next day, so one might assume he'd be out for tonight's big tilt vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Cassidy referred to Acciari's condition as "having teeth all over the place" when he talked about it on Wednesday's off-day, so the injury sounded equal parts painful and gruesome.
That assumption would be wrong because Acciari is a hard-nosed, tough hockey player, so the fourth line was on the ice for Thursday's morning skate and will "give it a try" during warm-ups with a face shield against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Acciari will need to make it through warm-ups without any issues before he'll be a full go against first place Tampa Bay, but the fact it's even a possibility is a testament to the Rhode Island kid's toughness.
"He's going to give it a try. I think he'll be able to [play]. I think he'll probably be wearing a face shield of some sort," said Cassidy of Acciari, who exited Tuesday's win over the Sharks in the third period after taking the puck in his mouth. "They did some work yesterday, but probably not as much work as they need to. That actually helps us out in the short term, but eventually he'll need to get more work done."
If Acciari couldn't go then it would be Peter Cehlarik moving to the third line and versatile Nordstrom finding a spot on the energy line in place of the hard-hitting Acciari.
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Otherwise, the only change for Thursday night's lineup would be Tuukka Rask back between the pipes against a Tampa Bay team he's had some pretty good luck with over the years. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings vs. the Lightning based on Wednesday's practice with the B's holding an optional morning skate:
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