Brad Marchand Explains How Tuukka Rask Will Bring Jolt To Bruins

Rask is expected to start Thursday against the Flyers

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Tuukka Rask, until he shows otherwise, is one of the top goalies in the NHL.

Any of the 32 teams in the league would want him, but he made clear he only wanted to play for one team, and that’s the Boston Bruins.

Rask on Tuesday signed a contract for the rest of this season, which will carry a $1 million cap hit. The expectation is he’ll play Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers, and his teammates are thrilled to have him back.

“It’s nice to know that he’s at the end of the line here (with his rehab) and he’s going to get to play again soon,” Bruins winger Brad Marchand said Wednesday over Zoom. “It’s unfortunate for (Jeremy Swayman) being in a numbers game, but Tuuks is obviously an incredible goalie and has been for a very long time in this league. I’m happy for him that it’s all kind of worked out and he’s recovered the way he has. He’s going to help our teams, he’s been one of the best goalies in the league for the last 10-15 years and we’re lucky he’s back again this year.”

As Marchand alluded to, Swayman got sent down as a result of Rask’s return. It’s far more reflective of Rask being a high-end goalie than anything Swayman did wrong.

But Rask being back elevates the Bruins’ overall standing at the position. And knowing how stellar of a netminder he is, it will bring a natural boost to the Bruins.

“I think there is (a jolt). With Tuuks — it’s like Tampa when they got (Nikita) Kucherov back in the playoffs last year — you’re going to get a boost amongst your group when you have a payer of that caliber,” Marchand said. “You know they’re going to make an impact, you know that they’re going to help you win, you know that they’re going to make a difference every night that they play. And he’s going to do that. Like I said, he’s been one of the best goalies and he still is. When you shoot on him, he has a natural gift to be one of the best and there’s no question he’s going to win games when he plays.

Then, Marchand outlined perhaps the most important part of Rask’s return.

“And there’s going to be games that he steals that we shouldn’t win, and that’s what you need,” Marchand said.

“We are lucky to have him, I think guys are excited to have him in there,” the winger continued. “And who knows with Tuuks, maybe there will be some rust, but with his personality and who he is, I’m sure he’s going to be in tip-top shape after the first game. There’s no question you get a boost when you get a player of his caliber coming into the lineup.”

The Bruins first will play Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens, with Linus Ullmark starting and Rask backing up. Puck drop from TD Garden is set for 7 p.m. ET.

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