RALEIGH, N.C. — Boston Bruins star defenseman Charlie McAvoy has cleared COVID-19 protocols and will take warmups with the team in anticipation on playing vs. the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night in Game 5, sources told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, after Boston’s morning skate, told reporters that McAvoy and fellow defenseman Hampus Lindholm (upper-body injury) would miss Tuesday’s game.
But McAvoy’s status improved through the day and could be a major boost as the Bruins try to take a 3-2 series lead on the road. McAvoy walked into PNC Arena wearing an N95 mask in time for warmups, according to Kaplan.
McAvoy was a late scratch for the Game 4 win Sunday in Boston, and Lindholm hasn’t played since being leveled on a jarring shoulder-to-chest hit from Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov in the team’s Game 2 loss. Cassidy said Lindholm didn’t event travel to North Carolina for Game 5.
McAvoy and Lindholm worked together as Boston’s top defensive pairing in Game 1 before Cassidy juggled the lineup for Game 2, moving Matt Grzelcyk up to play alongside McAvoy and putting Lindholm alongside Brandon Carlo.
McAvoy’s return would bolster the back line in several ways for the Bruins. He will, most likely, lead Boston’s defensemen in minutes played before the end of the night, and will see time on the power play and the penalty kill.
McAvoy, 24, is a former first-round pick who posted 10 goals and 56 points this season for the Bruins. He has two assists this series, and is averaging 25:15 time on the ice. McAvoy has been in the playoffs every year of his NHL career.
The Bruins fell into an 0-2 hole before rallying with two victories at TD Garden.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.