Amidst all the injuries, there was one constant at the backbone of the Bruins defense-that being Tuukka Rask. He is the workhorse for the Black and Gold. No questions asked, but after a shutout on Friday night, Rask has let in an uncharacteristic eight goals on the last 43 shots he has faced.
Rask may be in need of some rest and it looked like that was going to be the plan before Dennis Seidenberg was injured, but when he suffered a season-ending injury, the team had to recall Zach Trotman and David Warsofsky. Niklas Svedberg was up with the big club to maybe spell Rask one night, but due to the chain of events, was sent back down to Providence.
Rask was not happy with his performance and was scheduled for a night off, but was inserted back into the lineup due to the roster moves.
“I wasn’t even supposed to play that game,” Rask said. “Totally forgot about that game and then tried to regroup so I wouldn’t say I’m in a slump. You think so? Sure.”
Head Coach Claude Julien stands by his goaltender and knows that he is going through a mini-slump right now.
Teammate David Krejci feels for Rask, but knows there is plenty of time for him to continue his dominance.
“Yeah, a couple bad calls,” Krejci said. “Even a goalie like that has a bad game, but it wasn’t just him. We didn’t help him too much on those goals. It is what it is, but the good thing is we have 40 games left and we still can do something about it.”
Rask didn’t want to overanalyze his game Tuesday night versus the Islanders too much because the team didn’t play too bad.
“The penalty kill was obviously weak and we recognize that, but then you’ve got to realize that they got a couple of bounces through,” Rask said. “It might have been a different game without those, but I don’t think we want to overanalyze that. Start a new year tomorrow.”
The Bruins sit at 26-12-2 through the first 40 games of the season. Rask knows it is okay for a hiccup now rather than the playoffs.
“Yeah, we have to grow into it and feel good about ourselves in the last part of this season so I don’t think we have to be worried,” he said.
Rask sits at 20-9-2. He ranks third in the NHL in wins, fourth in games played, sixth in save percentage, eighth in goals against and first in shutouts.
Rask may need some rest after this tough stretch, but there’s no denying that he is still one of the elite goaltenders in the National Hockey League.