Jake DeBrusk in as Bruins get closer to full health
Another day and another game where the Bruins are that much closer to getting their full complement of players back before the playoffs.
Jake DeBrusk is the latest to return to the lineup. The second-line winger, who was playing the best hockey of his rookie season prior to his upper-body injury, missed the previous eight games.
This comes two days after David Backes returned to the lineup after missing five games with a knee laceration. It also comes as Charlie McAvoy and Zdeno Chara inch closer to returning. McAvoy hasn’t played since spraining his MCL on March 3 against the Canadiens, while Chara, who signed a one-year contract extension on Wednesday, has missed the last eight games with an upper-body injury.
Rick Nash (upper-body), who hasn’t skated since March 20, is participating in off-ice workouts, while Sean Kuraly will miss his second straight game with his own upper-body issue.
Brian Gionta and Jordan Szwarz will are healthy scratches.
Unlike their first matchup with the Panthers, a 3-0 setback in South Florida, the Bruins will have their entire first line at their disposal as well as one of their second line wingers in DeBrusk.
Here’s a look at the projected lines for Saturday’s matinee as the Bruins look to clinch home ice in the first round with a win over the Panthers.
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Ryan Donato
Danton Heinen-Riley Nash-David Backes
Tim Schaller-Noel Acciari-Tommy Wingels
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-Kevan Miller
Nick Holden-Adam McQuaid
Evgeny Dadonov-Aleksander Barkov-Nick Bjugstad
Jonathan Huberdeau-Vincent Trocheck-Jamie McGinn
Jared McCann-Henrik Borgstrom-Maxim Mamin
Michael Haley-Jared McCann-Colton Sceviour
Keith Yandle-Aaron Ekblad
Michael Matheson-Mark Pysyk
Mackenzie Weegar-Alex Petrovic