By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins hope to be back in action Thursday night after dealing with a rash of COVID-19 cases on the team. There’s a chance they’ll have Tuukka Rask back in net when the team returns to the ice — and fans return to the stands.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said that Rask would be a “real possibility” for Thursday night against the Islanders as long as the goaltender makes it through practice on Wednesday.

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“Tuukka is expected to join us for practice,” Cassidy said Tuesday. “If he makes it through practice, then obviously he’s a real possibility for Thursday. If not, Saturday [against the Sabres].”

Rask has been sidelined since March 7 with a back injury. Cassidy said that Rask is feeling much better, but he’ll need practice reps before returning.

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Wednesday’s practice will be Boston’s first time on the ice together since the team had its last two games — Saturday against the Sabres and Tuesday against the Islanders — were postponed after five players were placed in COVID protocol last Tuesday.

“We have one more testing round to go through [Wednesday] morning,” explained Cassidy. “Assuming that those come back negative, everyone who has a negative will be able to get back into the facility and practice.”

David Pastrnak, David Krejci, Jake DeBrusk, Craig Smith and Sean Kuraly were the five players who entered protocol last week. Cassidy said that four of those players could be cleared for Thursday’s game if their tests come back negative Wednesday, but that Kuraly will be out against the Islanders.

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The Bruins will practice later in the day Wednesday in hopes of having some of those players back. Thursday night’s game at TD Garden will be the first time that the Bruins have fans in the stands since last season.

CBSBoston.com Staff