Craig Smith likely will return to the lineup for the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Second Round against the New York Islanders on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS).
The forward sustained a lower-body injury in Game 1 and missed Game 2, a 4-3 overtime loss on Monday. The best-of-7 series is tied.
“He looks a lot better,” coach Bruce Cassidy said Wednesday. “That’s a good development for us. We weren’t sure, to be honest with you. But he made it through the entire practice, did a little work early. So that’s a positive. Obviously tomorrow morning let’s see if there’s any residual effect. If not, then I assume he’ll be in the lineup.”
Smith, who has scored three points (one goal, two assists) in six playoff games, skated early before practicing with the team. He would play on the second line with Taylor Hall and David Krejci, where he was replaced in Game 2 by Jake DeBrusk. Cassidy said if Smith plays, DeBrusk will remain in the lineup.
Smith scored 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) in 54 games in the regular season, his first with Boston.
Tuukka Rask will start after Cassidy said that he had no concerns about the goalie’s health. On Tuesday, Cassidy said Rask had some nagging injuries, but pulled back from that assessment Wednesday.
“He’s fine,” Cassidy said. “Tuukka has been ready to go every playoff game. So there’s no issue there. Someone asked me the other day, I think he just, like a lot of guys, has a few things here or there, said something. But he’s ready to go. He’s practicing full today. He’ll be in the net tomorrow night.”
Rask, who made 35 saves in Game 2, is 5-2 with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage in seven playoff games.
Defensemen Kevan Miller and Jakub Zboril will not play in Game 3. Miller went to the hospital because of an upper-body injury in Game 4 of the first-round series against the Washington Capitals. Zboril, who is dealing with an upper-body injury, is “getting closer,” according to Cassidy. He was a full participant in practice Wednesday and has not played this postseason.