March 27, 2017

BOSTON (AP) The Bruins begin a crucial three-game homestand Tuesday against the Nashville Predators and they hope to have their No. 1 goaltender back in the net.

Goaltender Tuukka Rask missed the Bruins' 2-1 win at the New York Islanders on Saturday because of a lower-body injury. Rask, who stayed in Boston over the weekend to receive treatment, returned to practice with the Bruins on Monday at Warrior Ice Arena.

Rask plans to be available when the Bruins face the Predators.

''Good day back on the ice. Feel good,'' Rask said. ''(We'll) see what the decision is, but I felt good today. Get another morning skate (Tuesday) and go from there.''

The Bruins didn't need Rask against the Islanders because backup goaltender Anton Khudobin made 18 saves, as Boston ended its four-game losing streak and moved into the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Rask is 33-20-4 with a .910 save percentage and 2.38 goals-against average this season. Although Khudobin got off to a slow start this season, he's 5-0-0 with a .920 save percentage and 1.98 GAA since Feb. 11.

Interim coach Bruce Cassidy, however, plans to rely on Rask to play the bulk of the games during the final two weeks of the regular season.

''He's our No. 1 goalie, so we're not skirting around that issue,'' Cassidy said. ''He's our No. 1 and his health is very important. When he's physically ready to go and he tells me that, then we'll make a decision. The one practice, he feels good and that's a big positive for us.''

Rask made it through the duration of formal practice and even stayed on the ice for extra work. Center David Krejci, however, left practice about midway through the session.

''He's got a bit of an upper-body issue, a little discomfort. He got treatment,'' Cassidy said. ''I believe he'll be fine tomorrow, I don't think it's anything major, but again I can't speculate.''

Krejci has 50 points (21 goals, 29 assists) in 75 games.

Although there are questions about the status of a couple of the Bruins' best players, team confidence is high after the win against the Islanders. The Bruins, who are attempting to return to the Stanley Cup playoffs after missing them the past two seasons, felt as if their 2-1 victory was one to build on.

''You could tell the desperation, the willingness to put everything out there and we were able to obviously come up with a big win, a big two points,'' captain Zdeno Chara said.

''Obviously it doesn't end there. We have big games left on our schedule and every game's going to mean the same importance as the last game. ... So we've just got to be ready and focused and do our jobs.''

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