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Curtis Lazar may be ready to rejoin Bruins lineup Wednesday in Florida

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will make a call on Curtis Lazar (above) after the morning skate in Sunrise, Fla., Wednesday.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will make a call on Curtis Lazar (above) after the morning skate in Sunrise, Fla., Wednesday.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Feeling fortunate to have avoided surgery on an elbow he injured a month ago in training camp, Curtis Lazar returned to full workouts Tuesday in Brighton and could be in the Bruins lineup Wednesday night in Florida.

“Spirits are high,” said the never-a-bad-day pivot, acquired at last season’s trade deadline from Buffalo. “Feeling good, and I’m ready to go.”

Now it’s up to coach Bruce Cassidy to decide, following the morning skate in Sunrise, Fla., whether Lazar is back at 100 percent, and if so, where he fits into the mix of bottom-six forwards.

Also, if Lazar suits up, then someone must sit, and Cassidy sounded of the mind that Oskar Steen could be the odd man out, which would allow Jack Studnicka another chance to hold on to his spot at the big kid’s table rather than be returned to AHL Providence.


“Both played well the other night [Sunday vs. San Jose],” noted Cassidy. “Jack was ahead of Steen through training camp, so we’ll consider that as well.”

Lazar, who arrived here in the same deal in which the Bruins acquired Taylor Hall, found an immediate home as the fourth-line center. In his absence, newcomer Tomas Nosek has held that spot for much of the early going, but recent injuries to right wingers Nick Foligno and Craig Smith have forced Cassidy to shuffle the deck, which on Sunday meant Charlie Coyle moved from center to right side.

Free agent signing Nick Foligno is expected to miss extended time.
Free agent signing Nick Foligno is expected to miss extended time.Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Neither Foligno nor Smith was aboard the afternoon flight out of Hanscom to Florida. Foligno, placed on injured reserve over the weekend, won’t be back for a while. Cassidy is hopeful that Smith could be ready for the Panthers rematch Saturday night at the Garden.

Lazar, no surprise, said he’ll be happy wherever he’s asked to play. He is a righthanded shooter, which likely means he would move to right wing on the fourth line if Cassidy opts to keep Trent Frederic as that line’s pivot.


“I think you take a few more reps on the wing when you see them bring in a few more centermen,” said Lazar, asked how he felt over the summer when the Bruins signed Erik Haula, Nosek, and Foligno, all experienced forwards who can play center.

“Versatility is part of my game, so wherever they want to slot me in, wherever I’m called, I’ll go out there and do my job.”

Test period

The game in Florida, followed the next night by a visit to Raleigh, N.C., stacks up as the Bruins’ mini-tour against “The Undefeated.”

The Panthers, living up to their preseason hype, stand 6-0-0. The Hurricanes have gone 5-0-0, despite losing high-producing defenseman Dougie Hamilton as a free agent to New Jersey.

“I was just talking to Coop,” said Cassidy, referring to Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, winner of back-to-back Stanley Cups, “about their series with Florida last year. He felt they were a really, really good team, knocking on the door, and they’ve shown that so far.

“Carolina, we’ve seen every year, they’re right there. So it will be a good evaluation of our team. Let’s see where we’re at, against two really good offensive teams, and see how our defense plays out against some potent offenses.”

Goalie plans

Linus Ullmark will have the net on Wednesday.
Linus Ullmark will have the net on Wednesday.Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Linus Ullmark, who gave up four goals (.935 save percentage) in his back-to-back wins over the Sabres and Sharks, will be back in net vs. the Panthers. Rookie Jeremy Swayman, last seen giving up five goals in the 6-3 loss at Philadelphia last Tuesday, will face Carolina after a nine-day respite. A strong performance by Ullmark would point to him getting the call for the Garden rematch … Ex-Bruin Noel Acciari has yet to play for the Panthers, kept on the sidelines after injuring a pectoral muscle in a preseason scrum … Jumbo Joe Thornton, No. 6 on the career games played list (1,684), suited up for only four of the Panthers’ first six games, chipping in with a goal and an average 11:07 in ice time.


Piling up points

Brad Marchand has collected four goals in his first four games. The prolific Li’l Ball o’Hate might be able to reach the 40-goal plateau for the first time in his career, having fallen short three times with 39, 37, and 36. Over the last five seasons, Marchand has ranked No. 3 overall in point production in the NHL (426), behind only Connor McDavid (526) and Leon Draisaitl (446). Both Oilers reached the 40-goal plateau twice in that stretch … Ex-Boston College standout Spencer Knight is 2-0-0 in the Panthers net, backing up a rejuvenated Sergei Bobrovsky (4-0-0, 1.99 GAA, .942 save percentage).

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at kevin.dupont@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeKPD.