Tuukka Rask was back in the lineup for the Bruins on Thursday, and the veteran goaltender helped Boston earn a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders at TD Garden.
Rask, you may recall, had missed 17 of Boston’s last 18 games due to a lingering injury. He played one period on March 25, but besides that had not played in a game since March 7.
With Rask sidelined, backup Jaroslav Halak played nine games (4-3-2) before he too was out of the lineup due to the league’s health and safety protocols. That then prompted young netminders Dan Vladar and Jeremy Swayman into the lineup.
It was something Rask, personally, was extremely happy to see.
“It’s been great. I’m super happy for them,” Rask said on a postgame video conference Thursday when asked about the play of Vladar and Swayman. “Obviously, not an easy situation when you’re kind of, Providence is playing games here and there, you’re trying to keep yourself ready, and next thing you know two goalies go down from the main club so you have to step in.”
Both Vladar (2-2-1 in five starts) and Swayman (3-1-0 in four starts) earned the first win of their NHL careers over the last month, and with each opportunity they received it proved a promising sign for the future.
And it seems Rask wasn’t caught off guard by their production, either.
“It’s not a surprise for me or Jaro to watch them. We’ve seen them in practices and how good they are,” Rask said. “But, obviously we need that depth, even in the goaltending position because you never know what’s goin to happen. And I think Vlady and Sway have shown their very capable of playing good hockey. I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Rask now returns to the lineup as the starter unless an unforeseen injury happens, but it’s nonetheless promising to see the Bruins do have depth behind the two veterans.