The Bruins are on the brink of elimination after they suffered a 5-4 loss to the Islanders. And coming out of the contest, there are questions about Tuukka Rask.
Boston’s long-time goaltender was replaced ahead of the third period Monday night by Jeremy Swayman. There wasn’t any injury update about Rask during the game, so that raised questions from the Bruins faithful.
Was Rask being pulled because of his poor performance? He had allowed four goals on just 16 shots during the game. Or was there an injury component to Rask’s outing?
As coach Bruce Cassidy explained after the game, Rask wasn’t “100 percent” during the loss.
“There was some maintenance that needed to be done. He wasn’t 100 percent, so we made a decision,” Cassidy said, per NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss. “That’s a call we had to make between periods. I’ll just say he wasn’t himself (or) 100 percent. Certainly could’ve went back in, but we made a decision not to put him back in.”
Rask didn’t look comfortable out on the ice, so if he was nursing even a minor injury, replacing him looked like the right move.
It’s also notable that Rask was the second goalie on the ice for morning skate on game day. Usually, the first goalie on the ice is the starter, so the Bruins deciding to put Rask on the ice second may have been a maintenance-related move. Either way, it served as a bit of a red flag about his overall health.
Will Rask be ready to play in Game 6? Cassidy seems confident that Rask will suit up.
“I assume he will [play],” Cassidy said.
That’s good news for Bruins fans, but they’ll still want to keep an eye on Boston’s injury report and how they line up during morning skate ahead of Wednesday’s game.
If Rask can’t suit up, Swayman would get the start in his place. The rookie backup faced three shots during his lone period of action Monday. He gave up one goal on a shot by Brock Nelson. That ended up being the decisive one, which made Swayman the losing goalie.
During the regular season, Swayman made 10 starts and posted a 7-3-0 record for the Bruins with a .945 save percentage and a 1.50 goals against average. He played well enough to supplant Jaroslav Halak as the top backup.
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