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NHL Buzz: Halak returns to practice for Bruins, will travel on road trip

Grzelcyk could be back Tuesday; Chara day to day for Capitals; Roy nearing return for Kings

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Boston Bruins

Jaroslav Halak joined the Bruins for an optional practice Monday after spending two weeks in NHL COVID-19 protocol.

The goalie, who tested positive for the virus April 5, will travel with the Bruins when they begin a five-game road trip at the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday (6:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, MSG-B, NESNplus, NHL.TV).

"Halak is still working his way through the COVID protocol in terms of getting conditioning in and preparation, so he'll be on the ice with the taxi squad [Tuesday morning]," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said.

Halak, who last played April 3, is 9-5-3 with a 2.44 goals-against average, .910 save percentage and two shutouts in 17 games (16 starts) this season. 

Cassidy said defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who has not played since April 10 because of an upper-body injury, could return Tuesday.

"Grzelcyk is skating this morning," Cassidy said. "Assuming there's no setback for him, he's got a good chance to play as early as tomorrow. But that's a decision we'll make in the morning."

Boston (25-12-6) is fourth in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, four points ahead of the New York Rangers. The top four teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. -- Amalie Benjamin

 

Washington Capitals

Zdeno Chara is day to day for the Capitals with an undisclosed injury after he missed his first game of the season, a 6-3 loss at the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

The defenseman blocked two shots off his right ankle while on the penalty kill late in the second period of a 6-3 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday but was able to finish the game.

"We took some rubber on the back end last night, different players and three or four blocks, in the defensive zone," Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said before the game Sunday. 

When asked if Chara was one of the players hurting, Laviolette said, "It would seem like it after the whistler that he took."

The 44-year-old has scored nine points (two goals, seven assists), is plus-8 and averaging 18:24 of ice time in 45 games this season.

Trevor van Riemsdyk replaced Chara in the lineup. Van Riemsdyk had not dressed for a game since he played 51 seconds as the seventh defenseman against the New York Islanders on March 16. He has scored one goal in nine games this season. 

Washington (29-13-4) is first in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, two points ahead of the second-place New York Islanders. Its next game is at the Islanders on Thursday. -- Tom Gulitti

 

Los Angeles Kings

Matt Roy could play for the Kings when they host the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; BSW, KDOC, BSW+, ESPN+, NHL.TV) after the defenseman was removed from NHL COVID-19 protocol Sunday.

"First of all, we're excited about him being around," coach Todd McLellan said Monday. "He just brings a calmness to the group back there. He's a legitimate, full-time NHL player obviously, and his ability to calm situations down, even in practice, we've seen that in practice for the last couple of days. Off for a while, I think the time off took its toll on him a little bit. He looked much better today in practice than he did yesterday. We'll have to make a decision on him for the game tomorrow, but I would think we're pretty darn close with him."

The Kings are 2-5-0 without Roy, who last played April 2. He has scored nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 30 games.

Defenseman Tobias Bjornfot has been out since April 1 with an upper-body injury and his return date is unknown. He has four assists in 19 games.

Los Angeles (16-20-6) is seventh in the eight-team Honda West Division, seven points behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes. The top four teams qualify for the playoffs. -- Tracey Myers

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