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Gustavsson Cleared to Play, McQuaid Skates with Team, as Bruins Get Set for Sabres

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BUFFALO Jonas Gustavsson traveled with the Bruins to Buffalo, and has been cleared to play.

The announcement from the Bruins came on Thursday morning.

"The final testing is complete and all results have been reviewed by the Bruins Medical Staff,” the team’s press release said. “Jonas has been cleared to resume full on-ice participation with the team without any restrictions."

Subsequently, Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced that the team activated Gustavsson off Injured Reserve and assigned goaltender Malcolm Subban to Providence.

“He’s fully cleared and so it’s good to have him back,” Head Coach Claude Julien said after Thursday’s pregame skate, which Gustavsson participated in.

The netminder had been back skating since Monday. He left the Bruins’ game against Anaheim on Jan. 26 after the first period for precautionary reasons, due to an elevated heart rate.

Gustavsson will back up Tuukka Rask on Thursday night against the Sabres. Speaking with media for the first time since the issue arised, he was glad that he could rejoin the team in his usual capacity.

“I wasn’t too worried about it. I was more frustrated, leaving the game,” Gustavsson said of the night that it happened against the Ducks. “I actually wanted to keep going in the game, but it’s always best to make sure everything is OK and that’s what we did now.”

“I’m just happy it’s over with and I’m back to being here and trying to help the team win games.”

On that night, Gustavsson didn’t feel his heart rate come down like it normally does. This has happened to him before, so he wasn’t worried. Six and seven years ago, he had three ablations, which are procedures used to treat abnormal heart rhythms.

“I’ve been feeling good, so that really helped me and all of the time, it’s been pretty much the same thing. It’s nothing too serious,” said Gustavsson, who does not need to take any medications for his situation. “It’s just more that it could be uncomfortable, but like I said, I’m happy to know that I’m healthy and my heart looks good, so I’m just happy to be back here.”

He went through a similar situation when he was in Detroit a couple of years ago. Being with a new team, they wanted to make sure everything checked out — like Boston just did — and once everything was fine, he was cleared the next day.

“I see it as the flu or something like that,” he said. “If it happens, you deal with it for a day or whatever, and then you’e back playing the next day hopefully, so I’m not worried about it and I’m glad that it’s looked after and that I’m back to playing again.”

Gustavsson was asked by a reporter if he ever had thoughts of this being something that would interfere with his career.

“It’s nothing that I worry about, career-wise or anything like that,” he said. “Ever since I did the first ablations, when the doctors told me what it was, ever since, I haven’t worried about it at all.”

“It’s more, if it happens, it’s more frustrating than I’m worried about it or anything like that, so that has even crossed my mind, that I’ve got to worry about my career or anything like that, because I’ve been told it’s nothing serious. So that’s why I don’t even think about it.”

McQuaid Skates with Team

Defenseman Adam McQuaid participated in Thursday’s pregame skate, marking his first time skating with the team since the injury he sustained on Jan. 5, when he took a hard hit from Washington’s Zach Sill.

“This was his first day with the team and to get some movement in, to be able to pass and be part of it, is obviously a step in the right direction,” said Julien. “So we’ll continue to evaluate him from there.”

McQuaid began skating on Feb. 1 after the All-Star Break with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” said McQuaid, speaking with media for the first time since the injury. “Obviously it was a big step today to get out there with the guys and just continue to progress from there.”

The blueliner wasn’t feeling great in the days after the hit.

“I obviously wasn’t at practice, so I wasn’t feeling too good,” said McQuaid. “But again, I’m really trying to keep my focus on where I’m at right now and pushing forward, and I’m excited about where I’m at and where I need to get to. And I’m looking forward to getting to that point.”

He won’t be pressing to get back sooner than he should, though.

“When you’re back out there, you have to make sure that you’re capable of playing and not being a detriment to the team,” said McQuaid. “You have to be ready to go, and there’s no excuses, so it’s just important for me right now to find my legs and hands and get into some practices and make sure, again, that I’m ready to go.”

All About Consistency for Bruins

While Gustavsson will likely be on the sidelines for the night’s game, with Tuukka Rask between the pipes, and McQuaid watching from the press box, the Bruins on the ice will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak.

With a 6-2 loss to Anaheim before the break, and a 4-2 loss to Toronto in the first game back on Tuesday night, the Black & Gold need to bounce back.

They can’t afford to give up another third period lead, like they did after going up 3-1 on the Leafs.

“It’s creating consistency during games,” said Patrice Bergeron. “Not get too high, not get too low. We go up by two goals and we’re on a high, stop playing for a bit and they get back in the game.”

“It’s about — [we have to] keep going and keep playing the same way and really playing within our strengths. I think that’s something that’s been successful for us.”

The Bruins have found plenty of success on the road this season, where they are 15-5-3, and earned a 4-1 win over the Sabres the last time the were in Buffalo in mid-January.

If they’re committed to defense and play the right way on Thursday night, they could get the result that they want.

“We’ve played a better 60-minute game [on the road], and at home we’re had some slip-ups,” said Julien. “Not that we haven’t been good at home — but we haven’t been good for 60 minutes and we’ve let games slip away from us and it’s resulted in some pretty crushing losses.”

Home or away, there is not room for that sort of outcome on Thursday night.

Projected Lineup vs. Buffalo 2/4

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronBrett Connolly

Loui ErikssonDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak

Matt BeleskeyRyan SpoonerJimmy Hayes

Zac RinaldoMax TalbotLandon Ferraro

Defense Pairs:

Zdeno CharaZach Trotman

Dennis SeidenbergColin Miller*

Torey KrugKevan Miller

Starting Goalie: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Jonas Gustavsson

Projected Scratches: Joe Morrow, Joonas Kemppainen, Tyler Randell

*If Joe Morrow slots back into the lineup, Dennis Seidenberg will likely move to the right side, with Morrow on the left.

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