The Boston Bruins could be getting a key forward back in their lineup.
Right wing Craig Smith practiced with the B’s on Wednesday in a regular jersey, indicating that he was cleared for contact. He worked with his typical linemates, left wing Taylor Hall and center David Krejci, splitting time with Jake DeBrusk. Smith is recovering from a lower body injury suffered during Game 1 against the New York Islanders.
Here’s Smith at practice standing behind DeBrusk in the top-right photo, via the Bruins’ Twitter account:
Smith’s presence in a non-contact jersey is a good sign, and head coach Bruce Cassidy remarked to reporters Wednesday that he’s shown improvement. But his split time with DeBrusk is an indication that he’s still not cleared to play in Game 3. Cassidy is confident Smith will return, but the Bruins want to wait until Thursday to finalize that.
“He looks a lot better, that’s a good development for us – we weren’t sure, to be honest with you,” Cassidy said. “But he made it through the entire practice, did a little work early, so that’s a positive. Tomorrow morning, let’s see if there’s any residual effect. If not, then I assume he’ll be in the lineup.”
Here’s a quick rundown of the other injury updates Cassidy provided Wednesday:
— Defenseman Kevan Miller is still “not ready” after sustaining an undisclosed injury in the series against the Capitals.
— Defenseman Jakub Zboril “getting closer,” as he returned to practice in a regular jersey. He would be a welcome depth piece in the event of an injury on the left side of the defense.
— Goaltender Tuukka Rask is “fine” and “there’s no issue,” as far as an injury that could keep him out of Game 3.
Ty Anderson and I touched upon the performance of the Bruins’ second line without Smith in our postgame podcast after Game 2. Have a listen to the full show below.
Game 3 between the Bruins and Islanders takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum. You can get the call of the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub, starting with pregame coverage at 7.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.