Patrice Bergeron expected to return Thursday for the first-place Bruins

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron missed his second straight game on Tuesday, a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, because of a lower body injury.

In his postgame availability, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Bergeron is expected to be back in the lineup Thursday at home vs. the Buffalo Sabres.

Bergeron, who also missed Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals, was a game-time decision Tuesday after the morning skate, but he was not on the ice when the Bruins took their pregame warm-up in Newark.

With Bergeron out of the lineup, David Krejci moved into the No. 1 center position, flanked by Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak at the wing positions. Pastrnak scored his 18th and 19th goals, and Marchand and Krejci had three and two assists, respectively.

"I thought we played fairly stingy, and tonight we had a chance to extend the lead on the power play, we simplified, got it to the net and took advantage of our opportunities," Cassidy said. "I thought we did a good job of limiting them."

Bergeron has eight goals and 19 points in 19 games while averaging 18.8 minutes. The Bruins now have 31 points and remain in first place in the Atlantic Division.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.