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Clifton Out Of COVID Protocol As Bruins Prepare For Hurricanes

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Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton is out of COVID protocol and skated with the team at practice Monday ahead of a big tilt with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Clifton is the second Boston Bruins defenseman to exit the protocol in the last three days as fellow rearguard Derek Forbort did so on Friday and played in the Bruins’ 4-3 overtime win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday. Matt Grzelcyk remains as the only Bruin still in COVID protocol.

Following practice at Warrior Arena Monday, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy gave updates on Clifton, Grzelcyk, and the injured Nick Foligno who skated with the team as well.

“Very close,” Cassidy said of Foligno and Grzelcyk, whom he did not rule out against the Hurricanes Tuesday.

Defenseman John Moore (lower-body) and forward Trent Frederic did not skate with the team at practice Monday.

Cassidy also told the media in a Zoom call Monday that goalie Tuukka Rask will make his second start of the season. Rask made 25 saves in his season debut – a 3-2 Bruins win over the Philadelphia Flyers – and is 1-0-0 with 2.01 GAA and .926 save percentage.

The Boston Bruins are in the midst of a seven-game homestand. They’re 3-0-0 thus far after beating the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 on Wednesday, the Flyers Thursday, and the Preds this past Saturday. After their game against the Canes on Tuesday, they will host the Washington Capitals on Thursday (7 PM ET), the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday (3 PM ET), and the Anaheim Ducks next Monday (7 PM ET).

Here’s what the lineup looked like at practice on Monday.

Forwards:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Craig Smith

Taylor Hall – Erik Haula – David Pastrnak

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Jake DeBrusk – Charlie Coyle – Oskar Steen

Anton Blidh – Tomas Nosek – Curtis Lazar

Defense:

Urho Vaakanainen – Charlie McAvoy

Mike Reilly – Brandon Carlo

Derek Forbort – Connor Clifton

Tyler Lewington

Goalies:

Tuukka Rask

Linus Ullmark

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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Orrfan

Clifton has been with the BigBoys, since he was protected over Lauzon in the Kracken draft. He’s been a healthy scratch, more than once this season. Vaak has played lights out, for the most part. Even though his NHL experience has been limited to a few games. Not sure sitting Vaak over Cliffy isn’t yet another stupid GM move.

Chuck Rose

The practice lineup appears to include both Vaaks and Clifton so they haven’t sat Vaaks. Besides, who plays and who sits is a head coaching decision, not the GM. But don’t let the facts interfere with your narrative.

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