Bruins Notes: How Bruce Cassidy, Tuukka Rask Assessed Goaltender’s Game

Rask, as acknowledged by both parties, isn't where the Bruins need him to be


January 24, 2022

BOSTON — It wasn’t a productive night for Tuukka Rask as the Bruins veteran goaltender continued to try to get back into form, only to allow five goals in a 5-3 defeat against the Anaheim Ducks at TD Garden.

Rask saw 27 shots in the contest, allowing at least a pair of goals that he wanted back. Rask referred to a second-period shorthanded goal that leaked through his pads as “just a terrible goal.”

Both Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy and Rask reacted to the goaltender’s performance Monday, and offered some big-picture takeaways following his fourth start (2-2) for the Black and Gold.

“Well, he’s not where he needs to be. That’s evident,” Cassidy said on a postgame video conference. “We weren’t sure he would be this soon either. I mean, as I said, I think you need seven or eight probably starts.

“Certainly need a few more saves if we’re going to win tonight, but, again, he’ll need more starts and then we have to evaluate it, right? But right now, not where he needs to be,” Cassidy added. ” … As I said, he’s got to sort through it, get through the kinks in his game — track pucks a little better, find pucks, puck touches — all the things that you have to get back into your game where he feels good about it. Sometimes it’s like any other position, you have a little success. You feel better about your game. So that’s where we got to.”

Rask agreed with Cassidy.

“Obviously haven’t been good enough,” he said. “It’s kind of the inconsistency within the game, game in and game out hasn’t been there and just got to fix that. But yeah, not satisfied, obviously.”

Rask cited a few specific areas he has felt a bit rusty in his four games this season. He was a free agent to start the year while rehabbing from offseason surgery.

“I think it’s more like my depth at the times,” Rask said. “Looking briefly at some of those goals, I’m too deep in the crease, giving too much away. And then tracking the puck, obviously, it’s not as sharp as it should be. Puck play, also. A lot of things.”

Rask remains optimistic, though. He, similar to Cassidy, believes it will come with more starts.

“But then again, it’s gonna come. I got to work on it. Then again, made some saves at times that’s showing it’s still there. But then the consistency within the game still, you know, you can’t let in like one or two bad goals a game because you’re doing the total opposite that you’re supposed to at that point.”

Here are some other notes from Bruins-Ducks:

— Boston got off to yet another slow start Monday, allowing a pair of goals in the opening 22 minutes. It’s been a bit of a growing theme recently.

“Clearly, we need to be better, a little more on our toes. I can’t sit here and say exactly why today. Teams are coming in here, they’re ready to play,” Cassidy said. “… So that’s one we’ll have to continue to identify.”

— Nick Foligno dropped the gloves with Anaheim’s Sam Carrick midway through the second period. Foligno, after serving his five-minute penalty, walked through the tunnel and did not return. Cassidy had a limited update after the loss.

“I don’t know if it was in the fight. He’s got an upper body injury so I have not seen him yet,” Cassidy said. “I just came down here so I’ll check in with him. We’ll have a better idea tomorrow, but obviously didn’t return.”

— David Pastrnak recorded a pair of points on one goal and one assist. The Bruins winger now has 11 goals (15 points) in the last nine games.

— Cassidy shared that Linus Ullmark is scheduled to get the start Wednesday and Rask will play either Friday or Sunday.

— The Bruins concluded their seven-game home stand (5-2 during the stretch) and will travel to Colorado to face the Avalanche on Wednesday night with puck drop set for 10 p.m. ET. Boston then will return to NESN on Friday as the face the Arizona Coyotes with pregame action to start at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images
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