BRIGHTON, Mass. -- If everything goes according to play, Patrice Bergeron will be making his season debut in the home opener at TD Garden against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. The 31-year-old center returned to practice with the team on Wednesday after missing the first three games of the season with a lower body injury, and Claude Julien said afterward that Bergeron “was on track” to play against the Devils barring any last minute setbacks.

“Bergeron, I think, is on track to play tomorrow unless I’m told otherwise today, or comes in on [Thursday] and feels any different,” said Julien. “I think we’re hoping he’s going to be in the lineup. It might be a little different with [Adam] McQuaid. It might be a few more days or so, but I think he’s very close as well.

“We talked about them [Bergeron and Adam McQuaid] getting better all the time, and they were both able to get a full practice in with us. Those are two veteran players that you’re glad to see back with us.”

Even better, Bergeron indicated the injury wasn’t something he expected would linger once he returns to good health centering red-hot wingers on either side of him in Brad Marchand (second in the NHL behind Brent Burns with seven points through three games) and David Pastrnak (team-leading four goals through three games).

“I felt really good on the ice today, and hopefully that stays for the rest of the day today and tomorrow morning. We’ll go from there,” said Bergeron. “It was really hard, and a little frustrating at the same time to not be able to go on the first road trip with the guys, and battle with them early on. It was nice to be back with them on the ice, and I can look forward to the upcoming games.


“I felt good today. We’ll have to talk about it, but I don’t think this is one of those things that’s going to linger for too long. Hopefully it stays like that. The way [the team] has battled, it was really great to see. A lot of young players were getting their feet wet at the same time. I was really pleased with the way we showed up [on the road].”

Now Bergeron will get a chance to add his voice and considerable talent to a Bruins hockey club that deserves plenty of credit for earning four-of-six points in his three-game absence.