The Boston Bruins gave an inspired effort Sunday without their top two defensemen, but they'd sure like to have at least one of them back Tuesday for a pivotal Game 5 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Defenseman Hampus Lindholm missed Games 3 and 4 of the Bruins' first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series after taking a massive hit from Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov late in the second period of Game 2.
Lindholm participated in Boston's morning skate Monday at Warrior Ice Arena, however, which is a sign of progress for the 28-year-old.
According to Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, Lindholm's status for Game 5 in Carolina is still up in the air.
"He's skating today. I'll get an update on him from the medical team," Cassidy told reporters Monday. "So, I'm not going to rule him out [for Game 5] but I'm not putting him in either right now.
"I have to hear from the doctors that he's cleared. If he's cleared, he's in. If he's not, then will list him as probable for the next game. But the fact that he's out there skating is always a positive sign."
Lindholm is Boston's top defenseman behind Charlie McAvoy and was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the NHL trade deadline to bolster the Bruins' blue line for a Stanley Cup run. McAvoy was placed in COVID-19 protocols prior to Game 4, and while he's "feeling better," per Cassidy, it's unlikely he'll be out of protocols in time to travel with the team to Carolina for Game 5.
If the Bruins want to take a 3-2 series lead, they'll need to shore up their defense in Carolina, where the Hurricanes scored five goals apiece in Games 1 and 2.