Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney inferred on Sunday that team captain Patrice Bergeron will be a game-time decision for Game 1 of the team’s first-round playoff series against the Florida Panthers tomorrow. Sweeney confirmed that Bergeron, 37, had been dealing with both an illness and an injury. He also stated that the veteran center “doesn’t need extra days of practice” to prepare for the upcoming matchup. Bergeron recorded 27 goals and 31 assists in 78 games during the Bruins’ record-breaking regular season.
The team will likely leave the decision up to their captain, with Sweeney telling reporters, “if [Bergeron’s] feeling well enough, he’ll play.” If Bergeron cannot play, Pavel Zacha has taken line rushes between Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk on the Bruins’ top line during practice this weekend.
Other injury notes from the Eastern Conference on Sunday:
- Toronto Maple Leafs forward Sam Lafferty has returned to the team after missing the last three games of the regular season due to an undisclosed injury. He was seen back on the ice at practice today, as reported by TSN’s Mark Masters, indicating his potential readiness for Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Lafferty’s return provides a boost to the Leafs’ depth heading into the playoffs, recording six points in 19 games down the stretch after arriving via trade from the Chicago Blackhawks.
- Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson played through a broken hand and a sprained MCL towards the end of the season, according to a tweet from The Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski. Despite the injuries, Samuelsson appeared in all but three of the Sabres’ final 10 games. The 23-year-old defenseman averaged over 22 minutes per game this season and led Sabres defensemen with a +14 rating.