BRIGHTON, Mass – The Boston Bruins had hoped that Patrice Bergeron would be able to return on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but that will not be the case after a visit with doctors. The 36-year-old wasn’t cleared to play by doctors while coming back from an elbow infection that required a surgical procedure and will instead hope to be back on Saturday afternoon against the New York Islanders at TD Garden.
Bergeron will be missing his fourth straight after the infection flared up around the road game vs. the Blackhawks on March 15, and instead Bruins center prospect Jack Studnicka will again step in and center the No. 1 line between Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk.
“We got bad news on that one, so he’s out tonight. It was a bit of a curveball. At the beginning of the day, we thought he’d be cleared, but the doctors thought otherwise,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We’ll look at Saturday [for a Bergeron return]. Jack will go [back] in.
“We’re a team. He’s a big part of that and we know that. He wears the ‘C’, and he plays in every situation, so I don’t have to go into detail about how much he means on the ice, and off the ice for that matter. But it’s business as usual once the puck drops and it’s an opportunity for somebody else. I think Jack’s been good in terms of his 200-foot game, and the offense should come if that continues because he’s playing with two good players.”
In other news, Mike Reilly will be the healthy scratch against the Lightning on Thursday night and the Boston Bruins will go with a rugged and physical third pairing of Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton against the Bolts. Here is the projected Boston Bruins lineup against the Tampa Bay Lightning based on Thursday’s morning skate at TD Garden: