As Tuukka Rask tries to return from an upper body injury, Jaroslav Halak is on the shelf.
Halak tested positive for COVID-19, coach Bruce Cassidy revealed Monday in a pregame Zoom call with reporters.
Dan Vladar, who supplanted Halak as the Bruins’ backup netminder amid Rask’s mid-March injury issues, was already scheduled to start Monday night against the Flyers at TD Garden. Vladar made 29 saves in the 3-2 overtime loss.
Halak, meanwhile, was due for more testing. Over the last two months, two of his teammates have missed games because of false positives (Charlie Coyle and Brad Marchand), while two others have spent extended time battling the virus (Jake DeBrusk and Sean Kuraly, both since returned).
The Bruins, who are down their top two goalies during a run of five games in seven days, play Tuesday in Philadelphia. If Halak is not cleared by then, Jeremy Swayman could make his NHL debut as a starter. Swayman, a first-year pro out of Maine, was tabbed to back up Vladar on Monday.
Cassidy said Rask will not be available Tuesday, but will be on the upcoming road trip, which continues in Washington on Thursday. The Bruins are in Philadelphia on Saturday, and host the Capitals on Sunday.
“He’s getting better,” Cassidy said of Rask. “He’ll travel, get some work, and see where it ends up.”
The Bruins have spent nearly a quarter of the season without Rask, initially believed to be hurt March 7. He aggravated his injury in his March 25 return, and pulled out after one period.
DeBrusk back in lineup
DeBrusk returned after six games on the NHL’s COVID list and had a relatively quiet night (one shot in 16:32).
In a pregame Zoom chat with reporters, DeBrusk said his symptoms were a loss of taste and smell, and a “couple low days, but obviously nothing major.”
“I got out of it pretty quick. I was able to recover fairly fast,” he said. “I had nothing to necessarily affect the lungs. But yeah, taste and smell was weird.”
Freed from quarantine at Monday’s pregame skate, DeBrusk had energy from “seeing other human beings,” he said. He killed the 11-day layoff by watching a lot of TV — “Entourage,” “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Justice League,” and “Kong vs. Godzilla” — and catching up with friends and family over FaceTime.
In his last game March 18 against Buffalo, DeBrusk (3-4—7 in 21 games) scored the winning goal and was as engaged as he has been all year.
He wasn’t looking back.
“It’s a new beginning,” said DeBrusk, who opened on the third line with Coyle and Zach Senyshyn. “I usually come in pretty hot after breaks . . . I wouldn’t mind scoring. It’s been a minute.”
Miller ready for Tuesday?
Kevan Miller, who missed his 20th consecutive game with soreness in his surgically repaired right knee, might not sit for a 21st. Cassidy said the 33-year-old defenseman, who participated in the morning skate in Brighton on Monday, “has a chance” to play Tuesday. The club will treat Miller carefully from here on out. “He’s put some good work in,” Cassidy said of Miller, who last played Feb. 18. “From there, we’ll see how he reacts to it. It’s as simple as that. It’ll be how he feels after, when he gets through a game, how much can he take, et cetera. Hopefully he’s recovered long enough that there’s no issues . . . Patrice Bergeron’s PPG put him alone in fourth on the Bruins’ all-time scoring list (889 points), breaking a tie with Rick Middleton. The only players above him: Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012). The captain led all skaters with six shots, 11 attempts and a blistering 74 percent mark (23 of 31) at the dot … The last time the Bruins dressed two rookie goalies in a game was Oct. 26, 2016 (Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban). The last time they did not dress either Rask or Halak was Oct. 21, 2017 (Anton Khudobin and McIntyre).