Claude Julien said he didn’t anticipate any lineup changes tonight, meaning Phil Kessel will sit for a third straight game.
“It’s really not about Phil Kessel not being able,” Julien said. “I think Phil Kessel is a good player and will be a good player. He’s a 20-year-old player right now that’s gotten much better than he was as a 19-year-old. Right now, it’s about putting a team on the ice that can compete against the kind of competition we’ve got. We needed more grit. I really don’t think it’s going to hurt his development, because he’s made some huge strides this year.”
Julien referenced Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek, scratched for part of the playoffs in 2005-06.
“He got scratched for half the playoff games, comes back and scores 43 the next year,” Julien said. “It’s just part of the evolution and development of a young player. He’s going to be fine. He’s going to be fine. I’ve talked to him. Obviously it’s a character-builder. Is he disappointed? Absolutely. If he wasn’t, I’d be disappointed. He’s got the right attitude, the right approach, which means we’ve got to help him along. That doesn’t mean you won’t see him again either.”