With Carey Price sidelined early in the season with a case of the flu, it looked as though the first meeting between bitter rivals Montreal and Boston would go down without a battle between Price and Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask. But even with Price back, it appears the Canadiens and Bruins top netminders might not be duelling Saturday night.
As Boston hit the ice for practice Friday, they were without Rask, and according to NHL.com’s Amalie Benjamin, coach Claude Julien said the veteran netminder is day-to-day while making reference to the “general soreness” Rask has been dealing with.
It’s a shame for Rask to go down right now, as he’d been playing about as well one could have hoped over his past two starts. Monday in Winnipeg, Rask stopped all but one of the 35 shots he faced in Boston’s 4-1 victory, and he turned in another stellar outing Thursday with a 28-save performance against the New Jersey Devils in the Bruins’ home opener.
While there’s no serious concern about Rask at the moment, there was a moment during the aforementioned home opener that likely had Bruins fans holding their breath. After stopping a shot late in the contest, Rask was slow to get back to his feet and looked to be dealing with some discomfort. He stayed in the game, however, and completed the outing looking no worse for wear.
Rask doesn’t have a long injury history and he’s been incredibly durable for a starting netminder who sees as many starts as he does. Since the 2009-10 season, when Rask became a full-time NHLer, he has missed just 25 regular season and five playoff games due to injury. The longest absence of his career came in 2012 when he missed 24 total games with a groin injury, but no other ailment has kept him on the shelf for longer than three games.
If Rask can’t go against Montreal on Saturday — and Julien hasn’t yet confirmed that Rask will be out — backup Anton Khudobin will get his second call in goal. Boston will no doubt be hoping the second time around is much better than the first for Khudobin, though, because in his season debut he was shelled by the Toronto Maple Leafs, allowing four goals against on 24 shots.
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