The Boston Bruins’ net once again belongs to Tuukka Rask — at least for now, and not in the B’s next game.
Rask stonewalled the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, stopping all 24 shots he faced en route to his first shutout of the season.
After the game, the Bruins’ fifth consecutive win, head coach Bruce Cassidy admitted — without saying quite as much — that Rask has regained full control of the No. 1 goalie distinction. That being said, “backup” Jaroslav Halak will start Thursday against the Washington Capitals.
“Well, that’s a bit of the plan going forward (to make Rask the starter),” Cassidy admitted after the B’s 4-0 win at TD Garden. “He played the last game, so now he has two. Washington coming in is a little different. We haven’t had much success against them, so we’re leaning towards, I’ll tell you flat-out, Halak because he hasn’t started against them in a Bruins uniform, so kind of like Anaheim – throw a different guy in there and get a result. That would just be a switch and getting Jaro his games, but yes, Tuukka’s now earning the — I don’t want to say the net back. I don’t think that’s the appropriate term, but more starts. So, we’ll see how he runs with it.”
Rask certainly has validated that trust in recent weeks, playing his best hockey of the season. Since allowing five goals in an ugly loss at Carolina, Rask has allowed just five goals total in his last four starts, including a terrific showing at the Winter Classic.
The veteran goalie has been especially good since returning from a leave of absence. Rask had just a .901 save percentage when he took the leave citing personal reasons on Nov. 9. In the 14 games since returning, Rask has a tidy .930 save percentage, winning eight of his 14 decisions.
Rask historically has struggled against Washington, including an opening night stinker in which he allowed five goals on 19 shots before being lifted for Halak midway through the second period. So, as noted by Cassidy, Halak will get a crack at the defending champions Thursday night, but then it’s back to Rask for the foreseeable future.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images