BRIGHTON, Mass – It looks like the Boston Bruins will get a little closer to full roster strength as they head into Long Island for the all-important middle games of their playoff series against the New York Islanders.
Right winger Craig Smith (lower body) was back practicing at his usual second line spot during Wednesday’s practice at Warrior ice Arena and getting reps on the second power play unit, a couple of unmistakable signs that it’s looking promising for him to play in Game 3 on Thursday night.
“He looks a lot better. That’s a good development for us. We weren’t sure to be honest with you, but he made it through the entire practice, and he did a little work early. So that’s a positive,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We’ll see tomorrow morning if there’s any residual effects, and if not then I’ll assume he’ll be in the lineup.”
Smith missed Game 2 after absorbing a leg-on-leg hit with Cal Clutterbuck in last weekend’s Game 1 that knocked him out of commission in the third period and has one goal and three points along with a plus-1 rating in six games during the playoffs. Cassidy further mentioned that Kevan Miller (upper body) and Jakub Zboril were both getting closer to a return but wouldn’t be available for Thursday night’s game on Long Island.
Miller skated on his own prior to the team practice on Wednesday, an indication that he’s progressing in his recovery from an upper body injury suffered during a nasty Dmitry Orlov hit during the first round of the postseason. Cassidy also indicated that Jake DeBrusk wouldn’t be coming out of the lineup if Smith goes return for the Black and Gold for Game 3, so that leaves Karson Kuhlman as the likely odd man out after subbing in for Smith on Monday night.
Here are the Bruins line combos and D-pairings at Bruins practice on Wednesday: