BOSTON — The Bruins will end a long layoff Wednesday night when they take on the Buffalo Sabres, but they’ll do so without their No. 1 goalie.
Tuukka Rask will not make the trip to Buffalo, Bruins head coach Claude Julien said Tuesday after practice at TD Garden. Rask will get a little extra rest after helping lead Finland to a bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Backup goalie Chad Johnson will start in Rask’s place, while call-up Niklas Svedberg will be Johnson’s backup.
The Bruins’ other two Olympic medalists — forwards Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson — will travel and will be in the lineup, Julien said Tuesday. It’s all part of the balancing act as the team gets ready to play 25 games in a condensed schedule to end the regular season.
“I think those guys handled it well the way they got their rest. Like everybody else, I think I was in bed by 8, 8:30 yesterday and had a real good night’s sleep,” said Julien, who also made the Olympic trip. “I feel real good today, and I think Loui said the same thing this morning. It’s going to take a little while, but we gave Zdeno and Krech, I think they got back Thursday, so we gave them a couple of days. If they need more, I’ll give them more. The players want to play, so it’s hard to take them out of games. We’ve got some practice days, and those guys can skate the mornings before games. I’m going to find ways to give them rest, and at the end of the day, everything’s going to be OK.”
Julien said he hasn’t been able to speak with Rask about the illness that kept him out of one of Finland’s games, but the head coach didn’t sound too concerned. Rask is expected to have an off-ice workout Wednesday and will be back in practice Thursday.