Thomas first off, same lineup vs. Habs

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Thomas first off, same lineup vs. Habs

MONTREAL Every Bruins player was accounted for on the ice, and it appears the Bs will go with the same lineup as they did against the New York Islanders. Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice at the Bell Centre and should get the start while riding an eight-game winning streak.

We had to make sure we got ourselves back into a position where we were competing with the top teams, said Claude Julien. We needed this winning streak to get us there, and now its a matter of staying in that position. Thats going to get harder.

Thomas had 23 saves against the Isles while racking up his 28th career shutout with the Bs, and is now holds third place all-time within the Boston franchise for shutouts behind Tiny Thompson (74) and Frank Brimsek (35).

The lineup projects as follows:

Forwards:
Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin
Lucic-Krejci-Horton
Pouliot-Kelly-Peverley
Paille-Campbell-Thornton

Defensemen:
Chara-Boychuk
Corvo-Seidenberg
Ference-McQuaid

Goaltenders:
Thomas
Rask

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

As expected, Marcus Smart will get the start for the Boston Celtics tonight against the Orlando Magic in place of the injured Isaiah Thomas. 

Thomas, who leads the Celtics (12-9) in scoring (26.0) and assists (6.2) this season, suffered a right groin injury in Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday.

Head coach Brad Stevens explained his decision a few minutes ago.

“He’s started a lot of games here in the past as a point guard,” Stevens told reporters. “He’s basically our sixth starter. It wasn’t one that I had to think a ton about.”

Starting Smart also allows second-year guard Terry Rozier to continue in his role coming off the bench. 

Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, Smart’s production has been consistent. 

In the five games he has started this season, he has averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. 

His numbers off the bench are almost identical with Smart averaging 9.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists as a reserve. 

Stevens also mentioned that Amir Johnson would be back in the starting lineup in place of Jonas Jerebko. Earlier in the day, Stevens told reporters the decision to start Jerebko on Monday was strictly because of the matchup with Houston. 

“We have to be able to be flexible in doing that,” Stevens said. “Houston plays four guards. We didn’t feel like we could defend them unless we switch one through four. I thought he (Jerebko) did a pretty good job. This (Orlando) team is different than Houston other than both are super-hot.”

Orlando (10-12) has won four of its last five games in part because of its size, strength and versatility along the frontline which includes Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic who now comes off the bench. 

And while the Celtics have benefited heavily from the play of their guards, obviously that plan will be amended tonight with Thomas out. 

“He (Thomas) generates a lot in the open offense what we call flow, spread offense,” Stevens said. “So some of those type of things you may not generate at the same rate. But certainly there are other ways that we’ll look to play when he’s not in the game normally, or when we’re trying to play through bigs in the post. You have different ways to play within all your schemes. Hopefully we can play to each other’s strengths and go from there.”