Julien: Krejci could be back by weekend

David Krejci has been sidelined since he suffered a partially torn MCL in his left knee on Feb. 20. AP Photo/Scott Kane

BOSTON -- It’s possible Boston Bruins forward David Krejci could return to the lineup sooner than expected, maybe even as early as this weekend, according to coach Claude Julien.

Julien explained that Krejci could be cleared for contact soon and could return to game action when the team travels to Florida this weekend for a pair of games against the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

“He’s progressing well,” Julien said. “I don’t know exactly how close he is. Is he a possibility for the weekend? I think the earliest would probably be the weekend.”

Julien added it depends how Krejci responds to skating with the team the next few days.

After a week of skating on his own, Krejci participated in the team’s morning skate Tuesday at TD Garden as the Bruins prepare to host the Buffalo Sabres. Krejci has been sidelined since he suffered a partially torn MCL in his left knee on Feb. 20. The initial diagnosis had him out of the lineup for four to six weeks.

Beginning with Tuesday’s game against the Sabres, the Bruins have 12 regular-season games remaining. Boston remains in the playoff picture, holding onto the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

“I feel pretty comfortable that I’ll be back pretty soon and I can still play a bunch of games, so that should be enough to get myself ready for the playoffs,” Krejci said. "It’s just another step forward today and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Krejci said he does not have a timeline in mind for his return.

“Whenever it feels 100 percent I’ll be back,” Krejci said.

When he does return, Julien will have to make some lineup changes. During Krejci’s absence, the Bruins are 8-2-1. The line of Milan Lucic, Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak has played well together and added some offensive spark. Lucic has four goals and four assists for eight points. Pastrnak has three goals and five assists for eight points and Spooner has three goals and six assists for nine points in the past 11 games.

Julien and Krejci have already talked about where he would play once he returns. Julien said he did not want to speculate where Krejci would play, but it's likely he will return to his normal spot between Lucic and Pastrnak.

“I could tell you something today and change my mind tomorrow,” Julien said. “I’ve thought about it and it’s not easy. Guys in the lineup are playing well, so you’ve got to make a good decision. It’s not a decision I’m ready to make today.”

Krejci said he’s open to anything.

“Yeah, the whole team is playing well. The line’s doing well, so it took a little pressure off of myself," he said. "Watching the games, it’s good to see the guys doing well. For me, I’m just going to work hard and once I get back I’m going to try to fit in and play well.”