BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins could get some much-needed firepower back in the lineup with injured wingers David Pastrnak and Frank Vatrano nearing their returns to game action.
Head coach Claude Julien told reporters on Wednesday that “either” Pastrnak or Vatrano could make their return to the ice for the Bruins at some point on their upcoming four-game road trip, which rolls through Florida, Carolina, Columbus, and Buffalo. However, he still couldn’t confirm anything.
“There’s no sure shot answer to that,” said Julien. “We still have to make sure everything is OK before that happens.”
UPDATE: Claude Julien told reporters after Thursday’s practice that it’s “highly likely” that David Pastrnak and Frank Vatrano are both back in the lineup on Thursday night against the Florida Panthers.
Pastrnak has missed the past two games after undergoing a minor procedure on his right elbow, but returned to practice on Wednesday. Vatrano, meanwhile, has been out since Sept. 26 after undergoing surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left ankle.
Pastrnak, who leads the Bruins this season with 19 goals despite missing seven games, has sorely missed being on the ice.
“It’s always tough to watch games from the top,” Pastrnak told Eric Russo of NHL.com. “You want to play and you don’t want to spend any time injured. I’m happy I’m back on the ice. I missed two games, it could be worse. Always can be worse, so happy I’m back.”
Vatrano made it clear that the Bruins are still in no rush to bring him back.
“They want me to be ready when I’m ready,” said Vatrano. “I want to make sure I’m ready when I step in. I don’t want to be rusty at all. I want to make sure I’m up to the challenge when I’m back in the lineup.”
The Bruins will very much welcome the scoring touch both Pastrnak and Vatrano bring to the lineup once they return. The B’s have lost six of their last eight games and have scored just 17 goals in that span.