Ference/By S. Bradley

BOSTON — Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference was injured in the first period last Saturday and hasn’t been seen since.

After his team’s morning skate at TD Garden in preparation for tonight’s game with the Tampa Bay Lightning, head coach Claude Julien offered an update.

“Things are going extremely well with him,” Julien said about Ference, who was re-examined on the team’s off day yesterday. “We hope to see him back on the ice by early next week. That could be as early as Sunday.”

In Ference’s absence, Steven Kampfer has been taking a spot in the lineup. Tonight’s game will be Ference’s third missed contest since suffering the lower-body injury. The Bruins have only six active defensemen until Shane Hnidy is medically cleared to play.