Boston right wing David Pastrnak, who had offseason hip surgery, is expected to make his season debut Saturday against Washington. Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

 

Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals has long been circled on the Bruins schedule because it marked the first game against longtime Boston captain Zdeno Chara.

But coincidentally and perhaps of greater significance, it will likely mark the first game back in the Bruins lineup for David Pastrnak.

Meeting with the media Friday afternoon, Pastrnak said he felt ready.

“I feel great. It’s been a long road with a lot of practices behind me. I feel ready, I feel 100 percent. It’s been awesome,” he said. “We’ll see what happens tomorrow, but I’m pretty sure I’m ready to go.”

Pastrnak, coming off offseason hip surgery, played all 70 regular-season games in 2019-20 and shared the NHL lead in goals with 48 and had 47 assists. He was en route to a 50-goal, 100-point season before the season was shut down due to the pandemic.

Coach Bruce Cassidy said final clearance wouldn’t come until Saturday morning, but he was expected to have Pastrnak available.

“He’ll get final clearance in the morning about whether he can go tomorrow,” Cassidy said Friday. “He’s going to go for morning skate with us. It sounds like he’s checked all the boxes. It’s trending very well. … My guess there’s a good chance he would play tomorrow night.”

Cassidy said he’d insert Pastrnak at his normal right-wing spot with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the top line. He said he expected to return Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith to the third line with Trent Frederic and was leaning toward keeping Andres Bjork on the fourth line with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner, after a strong effort there Thursday.

Cassidy said that Jack Studnicka might not be available after taking a hit Thursday. With Jake DeBrusk already out, he said the Bruins would have to add someone to play on the second line with David Krejci and Nick Ritchie.

“If Pasta is cleared he would go back with Bergy and March,” Cassidy continued. “We would probably leave Coyle, Smith, Frederic trio alone and then it’s who’s going in with Krejci and Ritchie? We’ll make the decision tomorrow morning.”

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