Patrice Bergeron is likely to return to the lineup when the Boston Bruins visit the Minnesota Wild on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV), coach Bruce Cassidy said.
The 32-year-old center has missed 13 games with a foot injury and was cleared by doctors to travel with Boston to Minnesota. He took part in the morning skate Sunday centering usual linemates Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
"Real excited," Bergeron said. "Obviously it's been a while so I'm looking forward to it. ... I'm just excited to be back. I know it's been a month, so the timing and execution might not be there right away."
Bergeron was injured blocking a shot in a 4-3 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 24 and played in a 4-1 loss at the Buffalo Sabres the next day. He has 54 points (27 goals, 27 assists) in 55 games this season. Boston has gone 9-2-2 in his absence.
"I wasn't sure what to expect," Bergeron said. "The first couple days were a little sore but it got better form one day to another so we kind of took it one step at a time and I'm happy it was a little shorter. ... I know it's been a month, so the timing and execution might not be there right away."
The Bruins (46-17-10), who clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday, are four points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division and five ahead of the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs.
"He'll reel guys in, his linemates, obviously, if they start to get loose, he's good at that," Cassidy said. "He's another coach on the ice. He's a respected oice in the room. He speaks and people listen. [Riley] Nash did a good job [as No. 1 center] in terms of what we asked him to do so we were fortunate to have Riley be able to go up there and do it. It allowed [Bergeron] even more time to get back into this and not worry about it so to speak.
"We've got to be mindful of how many minutes he plays tonight. He's going to want to get out there in every situation but again we've got to make sure we're protecting his health going forward and make sure that's all good."
Defenseman Torey Krug is also expected to play after missing two games with an upper-body injury.