Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was scratched from Thursday night's Eastern Conference playoff game vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs because of an upper body injury and will remain a game-time decision for Game 5 on Saturday.
"We won't rule him out and we won't say he's definitely in," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said during the team's off-day availability on Friday. "But it is a positive he's back on the ice."
The team ruled out Bergeron minutes before Game 4 warmups. Bergeron skated with a backup goalie and a coach at the practice facility Friday. He did not show any impairment. The rest of the team did not skate.
Cassidy said he will decide on Bergeron's status after the morning skate on Saturday. The Bruins lead the best-of-seven series 3-1.
Cassidy stressed that even though the Bruins have a cushion in the series, it would have no impact on when Bergeron returns.
"The last game, 90 percent of the time, is the hardest one," Cassidy said. "I can pretty much tell you if he's cleared to play, he'll be in the lineup. But that's a medical decision that he has to be comfortable with as well."
A four-time Selke Award winner as the NHL's best defensive forward and the Bruins' No. 3 scorer this year with 63 points in 64 games, Bergeron broke his foot while blocking a shot on Feb. 24 and was sidelined for a month. Without him, the Bruins went 9-2-2.
"Unfortunately or fortunately, we've had to go to that a little bit in the regular season," Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid said. "So it wasn't a totally new situation for us."
Bergeron had had five assists in the first two games of the playoffs, centering a line with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak that tallied 20 points in the two Bruins wins. After losing Game 3 with the top line held scoreless, Marchand scored a goal and Pastrnak had two assists playing with center Riley Nash on Thursday.
"They played without him for a while when he broke his foot there and they continued to just keep on rolling," Maple Leafs defenseman Ron Hainsey said. "I'm certain they'd rather have him in there. He's the best player on the ice most nights he's out there. ... It wasn't like we were doing cartwheels in here when they were missing him. We didn't think we were going to have an easy night. That's a great team."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.