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Kessel, Thornton expected out for tonight vs. Senators

WILMINGTON — Phil Kessel [1] skated and did some light shooting on the ice and Shawn Thornton [2] wasn’t present during Thursday morning’s pre-game skate prior to tonight’s tilt at the TD Banknorth Garden [3] against the Ottawa Senators [4].

Thornton’s asbence from the morning skate indicates that the B’s brawling winger will miss his second straight game with a minor “undisclosed injury”. With Thornton and Kessel out of the lineup, Bitz should again populate the fourth line with Steve Montador and Stephane Yelle — and Blake Wheeler [5], P.J. Axelsson and Marc Savard [6]  will again skate as Boston’s top scoring line after producing an even-strength goal Tuesday night.

“Phil was on the ice and he’s practicing, and we’re planning his return for sometime next week,” said Claude Julien [7]. “(Thornton) is still the same. I can’t say any more than it’s not sonething serious. There’s a lot of the same, and we’re just going to keep going with healthy guys.”