Bruins visit Jackets in clash between hobbled teams

(SportsNetwork.com) - Both Boston and Columbus have been hit hard this season by injuries, but only the Bruins have managed to keep their heads above water.

The Bruins aim for a third victory in a row on Friday as they visit the struggling Blue Jackets.

Boston sits fourth in the Atlantic Division and has won seven of its past nine games despite having been without hulking defenseman Zdeno Chara since he suffered a left knee injury on Oct. 23.

Fellow blueliners Torey Krug and Kevan Miller also have missed time with injury and center David Krejci missed four straight games with an undisclosed injury before returning for Tuesday's 2-0 win over St. Louis.

However, Brad Marchand missed that game with an unknown ailment and did not travel to Columbus, while defenseman Adam McQuaid suffered a broken thumb against the Blues and will be out 6-to-8 weeks.

Columbus, meanwhile, has lost 10 of its past 12 and has scored more than two goals only twice in that span.

The Blue Jackets have played all season without forwards Nathan Horton (back) and Brandon Dubinsky (lower body) and have lost a total of 124 man games due to injury with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and forwards Matt Calvert, Boone Jenner and Artem Anisimov among those missing time.

The Blue Jackets were shut out on Tuesday by the visiting Detroit Red Wings, 5-0, with Bobrovsky making 35 saves. The loss snapped Columbus' two-game win streak.

"They did a good job of clogging up the neutral zone and denying us any space," said Columbus head coach Todd Richards. "I didn't make adjustments quickly enough to get things going for us."

Columbus wraps a three-game homestand tonight and will visit Philadelphia on Saturday, so it is unknown if Bobrovsky or backup Curtis McElhinney will start tonight.

Neither has ever beaten the Bruins, with Bobrovsky going 0-2-1 with a 2.24 goals against average and .930 save percentage in four meetings (3 starts) and McElhinney going 0-2-0 with a 3.04 GAA and .908 save percentage in two starts.

Boston is also in action on Saturday as it will host the Montreal Canadiens. Netminders Tuukka Rask and rookie Niklas Svedberg could split the two starts,

Rask is 4-1-0 with a 1.56 GAA and .946 save percentage lifetime against the Blue Jackets in five games with four starts, while Svedberg has never faced them and has gone 2-3-0 with a 2.41 GAA and .917 percentage in seven games (5 starts) this season.

Rask posted his first shutout of the season and 24th of his career last time out, turning aside 33 shots to beat the Blues 2-0 on Tuesday.

"I thought our guys played well tonight against a team that's been extremely hot," said Boston head coach Claude Julien.

Patrice Bergeron and Torey Krug had the goals for the Bruins, who have won six in a row at home.

The Bruins won all three of their meetings with the Blue Jackets last season and have claimed six straight and 10 of the last 13 encounters overall. That includes a victory in three consecutive trips to Columbus.