Bruins Optimistic Johnny Boychuk Will Be Back for Start of Playoffs, Less Certain About Adam McQuaid, Tuukka Rask

Bruins Optimistic Johnny Boychuk Will Be Back for Start of Playoffs, Less Certain About Adam McQuaid, Tuukka RaskBOSTON — The Bruins wrapped up the regular season with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Sabres on Saturday. The focus now turns to the playoffs.

The Bruins are optimistic about getting at least one of their injured players back for the beginning of the opening round, but the status of two others is more cloudy.

Prior to Saturday's game, Bruins coach Claude Julien was hopeful that defenseman Johnny Boychuk would be back for the start of the postseason. Boychuk remained out of Saturday's game but is recovering well from the mild knee sprain suffered Tuesday against Pittsburgh.

"We decided he wasn't going to play the rest of the regular season, but I don't see any reason right now why he shouldn't be ready for the start [of the playoffs]," Julien said.

Julien was not as definitive about the club's other injured defenseman. Adam McQuaid missed Saturday's game after returning briefly Thursday in Ottawa. McQuaid was initially injured March 29 when he was hit into the boards by Washington's Jason Chimera, opening a cut around his eye that required 18 stitches to close. McQuaid played just seven minutes against the Senators before leaving the game, and after Saturday's win, Julien was still not sure when McQuaid would be ready to return again.

"I think his situation — he’s got to feel good," Julien said. "He's just a little off right now, and as long as he’s a little off, we're not moving forward with him. So, he might be OK for Thursday, which I anticipate [is when the playoffs are] going to start, but if he's not, we've got some other guys. I think the reason we've got that depth was for that reason, that we need players to be able to step in whenever needed. So Johnny's looking good right now, and McQuaid right now is day to day, and that could change from one day to the other."

The Bruins are also proceeding cautiously with goalie Tuukka Rask, who has been sidelined since March 3 with an abdominal/groin tear. Rask has resumed skating on his own, but the Bruins aren’t sure if he’ll be ready to return at the start of the playoffs.

"I don't have a handle on that, to be honest with you," Julien said. "He's progressing, but like anything else, there could be setbacks. I think as he progresses, you give him more, so it's hard for me to predict. If everything was going extremely well, you'd say, 'Well he's got a chance.' But if at one point he kind of stalls a bit or just stays the same, you're saying, 'He won't be ready for the start.' So, it's hard to tell and nobody knows. I don't, and neither does the medical staff."

If Rask is not ready to return, Anton Khudobin will be Tim Thomas's backup in the postseason, while the Bruins have ample depth on the blue line to cover for McQuaid's potential absence after acquiring Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau at the trade deadline.

Have a question for Douglas Flynn? Send it to him via Twitter at @douglasflynn or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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