TAMPA – In a bit of a surprise right ahead of Boston's big tilt with the Tampa Bay Lightning, second-year Bruins D-man Charlie McAvoy will return to action after getting cleared from injured reserve and taking a full warm-up at Amalie Arena.
McAvoy has missed the last 19 games since complaining of concussion symptoms following an Oct. 18 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, and hadn't even been able to practice regularly with his B's teammates until the last couple of weeks. For a Bruins team that's lost two games in a row and really struggled with both their breakouts and their power play, getting the talented 20-year-old D-man will be a big boost after both Jeremy Lauzon and Connor Clifton struggled as of late.
Clifton was sent back to AHL Providence on Thursday afternoon and Lauzon will be a healthy scratch as McAvoy gets back into the lineup.
Clearly the Bruins won't be at true full strength until Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara get back on the ice a few weeks from now, but McAvoy returning is a big piece for the Black and Gold provided he is both healthy and ready to play without fear of taking any big, heavy hits he's sure to receive handling the puck.
Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning based on pregame warm-ups:
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