GLENDALE, Ariz. - David Krejci took another step toward returning from his lower-body injury on Friday afternoon, giving the Bruins more confidence that their No. 2 center will suit up for the team's second game of the season on Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.
"Felt a lot better today. Did some battles at the end of practice, got through that fine," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said following the team's practice at Gila River Arena. "We're gonna rule him as a game-time decision. But I'm more confident that he'll get in tomorrow than I was yesterday morning. But it will be his call."
Krejci was also a game-time decision for Thursday's season opener in Dallas, but ultimately - in consulting with the medical staff - felt it was best not to rush back from injury so early in the season. The 33-year-old also wanted another practice to test out some contact, particularly battle work along the boards.
"Another day, another good day. Feeling pretty hopeful for tomorrow," said Krejci, who skated between Jake DeBrusk and Karson Kuhlman in his normal second-line center position. "Obviously another practice…I think the thing for me was to get some battles in, alongside the boards.
"We did some battles after practice. A little extra. That felt good. Happy about it, so hopefully I'll wake up tomorrow and there's no setback and I'll be good to go. We'll see tomorrow."
Should Krejci be unable to go, more opportunity would arise once again for new Bruins forwards Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie, both of whom performed well in their Black & Gold debuts in Dallas. Ritchie scored the season's first goal early in the first and Lindholm drew two penalties - one of which led to Danton Heinen's power-play tally - while also contributing to Boston's penalty kill.
"David's one of our better players, we want him in the lineup, right? But it is what it is. The next guy goes in, gets an opportunity, especially when we've got a lot of forwards around," said Cassidy. "That part of it is good for another player to get in. Ritchie did a good job the other night. We weren't sure if him or Lindy was gonna be in, both played well. They'll be ready to go if David can't."
Joakim Nordstrom also practiced with the team in full on Friday as he works his way back from an undisclosed injury.
Friday's Practice Lineup
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Karson Kuhllman
Danton Heinen - Charlie Coyle - Brett Ritchie
Chris Wagner - Sean Kuraly - David Backes
Joakim Nordstrom - Par Lindholm
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton