Bruce Cassidy Calls Bruins’ Win ‘Step In Right Direction’ For Tuukka Rask

Rask is 2-1 since his return

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Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is in the positive since his return from hip surgery.

The veteran goalie played in his third game of the season in Boston’s 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday afternoon — with the team improving to 2-1 in games he’s started.

But Saturday probably was important in keeping his confidence up after giving up five goals in the first period last game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Head coach Bruce Cassidy liked what he saw from the netminder, who let up two goals but came up big down the stretch in a close game.

“I thought the second and third period, I don’t know that we hardly gave up a chance to be honest, other than some stuff from the outside. So I thought he settled in,” Cassidy said via Zoom after Boston’s win. “The first one got through him. Again, I think this is some of the residual effect of missing time — just squeezing the pucks like that. The second one was an unlucky bounce — ricocheted off a couple of skates — those are going to happen. And after that, like I said, he was fine. He fired one in the crowd, I liked his decision to get out and play the puck, move it up the ice. It just rolled on him. We were able to kill it off but a step in the right direction for him.”

Rask had 22 saves Saturday, with a .857 save percentage in his three games back.

But this early in his comeback, it’s hard to really gauge where he’s at until you see how he continues to settle into NHL action. And it must be acknowledged that capable pro Jeremy Swayman, whom Boston relied upon as backup for last year’s playoff run, is staying warm for the Bruins down in Providence.

Cassidy was careful to not directly give a timeline for Rask’s evaluation period, but did offer a general frame of reference.

“Keep getting him his starts and like I said before, probably take — I don’t want to put exact timeline — probably six, seven (or) eight games before we can sit there and say ‘OK, where are we truly at?’ With the way our schedule is that might very well be coming out of the All-Star break and probably be able to make a much better overall evaluation on him,” Cassidy said.

“But got the win. Good for him.”

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