Hampus Lindholm has not played for the Bruins since leaving with an injury in Game 2 of their series with the Hurricanes. Lindholm could return for Game 5. Karl DeBlaker/Associated Press

There was a promising sight shortly before the Bruins’ 11:30 a.m. practice on Monday as Hampus Lindholm – out since taking a hellacious hit from Andrei Svechnikov in Game 2 that knocked him dizzy – took the ice in Brighton for the Bruins optional practice.

But whether that means he’ll be able to give the Bruins some much needed help on defense on Tuesday – Charlie McAvoy (COVID) is not expected to play in Game 5 in Carolina – is still to be determined.

Lindholm, who took the ice in a tinted face shield (most likely to combat any possible light sensitivity), did not get a high octane, full practice to test how he was feeling, but those sessions are few and far between during the playoffs. It’s a matter of getting medical clearance from the doctors.

“I have to hear it from the doctor’s that he’s cleared,” said Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy. “If he’s cleared, he’s in, if he’s not we’ll list him as probable for the next game. But the fact that he’s out there skating is always positive sign.”

Cassidy did not expect McAvoy to accompany the team to Carolina. There is a five-day isolation period, though a player can test out earlier if he produces two negative tests 24 hours apart. That is not expected to happen.

“I spoke to him (Sunday) and he’s feeling better, so that’s a positive,” said Cassidy. “When he’s available, I don’t have an answer today for that.”

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If Lindholm is available, it would create a decision for Cassidy. He could take out Josh Brown, who struggled at times but did provide a good shift late in the game when Carolina pulled the goalie.

That would give the Bruins four left sticks and someone would have to shift over to the right side. Or they could sit Mike Reilly or Matt Grzelcyk. The former scenario seems more likely.

It’s a good bet that at least one pairing would remain intact, and that would be the Connor Clifton-Derek Forbort duo. A question mark right up until the last week of the regular season, Clifton and Forbort have both elevated their games in the playoffs.

Cassidy said that the staff had a conversation with the pair back in March about parking any negative things that happen in a game.

“We said ‘try not to let one bad game snowball into two or three bad ones.’ That was a little bit of Cliffy’s thing. Just put it behind you and get back to what you need to do well, which is execute a good first pass and try to do that on your forehand, try to stay off your backhand as much as possible, make a strong play. And play to your strengths. Cliffy’s physicality has been excellent, counter hits, finishing guys, annoying guys that way. Forbort’s strength – (penalty kill), blocking shots, getting in the way – has been good. They’re playing to their strengths so now they’re feeling good about their game. And their puck play has been good enough to help us get going the other way.

“I think they also look around, see Lindholm’s not in, McAvoy’s not in, and somebody’s got to step up. Why not me? Cliffy’s always had that. That’s how he’s gotten in the lineup. He’s always had to outplay someone. He’s never been given anything. Forbort’s a little bit different. I don’t know his whole career, but he’s had to work his way into lineups, too. Sometimes it’s ‘Here’s my chance, I better grab it.’ And I think they’ve done that.”

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Clifton said it’s a matter of a lot of work coming together at the right time.

“We’ve played together pretty much all year. And we’ve finally got some chemistry, we’re playing good, we’re playing fast, we’re defending hard and playing hard. Honestly it’s been going really well for us. We just have to keep that up, that energy,” said Clifton.

JEREMY SWAYMAN will get the nod for Game 5. It will be the second time this year that Swayman has played as many as three games in a row, but Cassidy is not concerned.

“He’s out there today and it was optional, completely optional, so that’s a good sign that he’s not overly fatigued. I think an afternoon game helps with recovery. He likes to work as well. Every day he can do a little something,” said Cassidy. “I’m not that worried about three games. I’d be worried if it was seven in a row or something like that. There’s a little bit of that momentum that gives you some energy at this time of year that you might not have in January, February. Right now he he does not look like he’s fatigued in there. He’s certainly had work, but not to the point where it should affect his overall play. Until I get feedback from him, that’s what we’ll do. But we’re always keeping an eye on it.”

AS OF THE moment, Carolina’s Tony DeAngelo has not been fined by the NHL for any of his actions on Sunday – not the crosscheck to Curtis Lazar’s face, not the extra punches thrown after the whistle, not the throwing of the stick at the end of the game. That’s in stark contrast to Brad Marchand’s $5,000 fine for slash into goalie Pyotr Kochetkov – in response to Kochetkov’s initial – or Derek Forbort’s $5,000 fine for a careless high stick that had already cost the defenseman a double minor.

As for Marchand’s running yap-fest with DeAngelo, Cassidy didn’t see Marchand’s behavior concerning at all.

“I didn’t see him lose his composure at all. When that starts to get closer, that’s when we’ll tell him..he’s also been through it a couple of times so he’s maybe taking advantage of a situation, he knows how a certain guy can feel on the opposition,” said Cassidy. “Other than that, Brad, at this time of year, he plays with a lot of confidence when things are going well. I don’t think he’s even been close to. (going over the line). He got engaged with the goalie, I know that, but that’s the only thing in four games…Right now he seems like he’s fine with that.”


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