NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues on Sunday night with the Boston Bruins visiting the Minnesota Wild. You can catch all of the action at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN or on our Live Stream.
The Boston Bruins are getting some good news on Sunday evening and the rest of the NHL is getting some very bad news.
What exactly is that news? It is that center Patrice Bergeron is “very likely” to return to the lineup when the team visits the Minnesota Wild, according to coach Bruce Cassidy.
That means one of the very best teams in the league is getting back one of the league’s very best two-way players.
Bergeron has been sidelined since Feb. 25 due to a foot injury. All the Bruins did during that stretch was go on a 9-2-2 run to keep pace with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division race.
What is most impressive about that recent run is that Bergeron isn’t the only top player they have been without during it.
- Rookie sensation Charlie McAvoy, one of the team’s top defenseman, has not played since March 3.
- Zdeno Chara, their ice-time leader when in the lineup, has not played since March 13, as has rookie forward Jake DeBrusk and his 14 goals.
- David Backes has been out since March 17.
- Key trade deadline acquisition Rick Nash has sat out the past three games due to a
- Torey Krug, the team’s top-scoring defenseman and fourth-leading scorer overall, has missed the past two games. He, too, is likely to return on Sunday night against the Minnesota Wild.
All the team has continued to do without all of them is just keeping winning games and piling up points, including a huge come-from-behind win against the Dallas Stars on Friday night. In that game the Bruins overcome a 2-0 third period deficit to rally for a regulation win.
Needless to say, it is incredibly deep team and has also received some huge performances from its remaining top players, specifically Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
A win on Sunday night would help them close the gap to within two points of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the top spot in the Atlantic Division while still having a game in hand and two head-to-head meetings ahead of them.
[NHL Playoff Push: Desperation time for the Stars]
While the Bruins are fighting for a division title, the Wild are fighting just so simply secure a playoff spot.
They enter the game three points clear of the first non-playoff team in the Western Conference and are also holding a two-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for the third playoff spot in the Central Division.
The Wild enter the game having won three out of their past four games with the only loss during that stretch coming in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings.
Eric Staal is still one goal shy of hitting the 40-goal mark for the third time in his career.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.