Boston defenseman Jeremy Lauzon, hampered by a lower-body injury, should be ready for Game 1 against the Islanders on Saturday night. Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Jeremy Lauzon was a full participant in Thursday’s practice, increasing the likelihood that the Bruins defensemen could be back in the lineup when the second round of the playoffs begins Saturday night.

After the entire team took Monday and Tuesday off, Lauzon returned to practice Wednesday in a red noncontact jersey, then took contact Thursday in a normal practice jersey. Lauzon was sidelined for most of Boston’s first-round series against the Capitals because of a lower-body injury.

“He’s better. He had a normal jersey on today. For him there’ll be a little bit of repetition for practice and then pain tolerance and we’ll see if he’s cleared for Game 1 or not,” Coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Obviously he’s a lot closer than the other guys. I don’t want to speculate, but he could be available early in the series the way he’s going right now.”

“My goal is to be ready as soon as possible,” Lauzon said. “Every day I’m making good strides. In the end, it’s not going to be my call, but for sure I’m feeling better and better every day.”

Kevan Miller, who has been out after sustaining a head injury during Game 4 against the Capitals, has not yet returned to the ice. Jakub Zboril, who hasn’t played in the postseason after suffering an upper-body injury in the final game of the regular season, didn’t skate Thursday.

“Zboril is off today. He’s skated yesterday, but certainly not with the main group,” Cassidy said.


Lauzon had a goal and seven assists in 41 regular-season games and was a plus-8. He’s expected to pair, depending on circumstances, with Charlie McAvoy or Connor Clifton.

Especially with Miller out, Lauzon’s ability to play a physical style is important.

“I’m just trying to play my game. I know I’m a physical player,” Lauzon said. “For sure when I’m in there, I’m going to bring that physicality, but the guys did a really good job against Washington. I want to compliment them.”

AFTER THE BRUINS eliminated the Capitals, they were guaranteed at least six days off and took advantage of it. Some players used the chance to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

“A large group had their second shot (Tuesday). I don’t know exactly which ones, but there were a bunch that went in,” Cassidy said. “Nobody missed practice, but a few guys were a little more under the weather than others. In general, everybody came out of it fine. So that’s good news.”

Cassidy expected that two weeks from Tuesday, the Bruins would have 85 percent of their team’s traveling party vaccinated so if they advance to the Stanley Cup semifinals, they’ll have fewer restrictions.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the AP that said he believed eight of the 10 U.S. playoff teams that were still alive Tuesday had already reached 85 percent vaccination. The Bruins were one of the other two.

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