Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask returned to practice Monday afternoon after sitting out for Sunday’s Round Robin game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Rask was deemed “unfit to play” prior to the game, but Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said yesterday that he was feeling better, and he could be back in net for Wednesday’s second Round Robin game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“We expect for [Tuukka] to be back in the net Wednesday,” said Cassidy. “Obviously he is an important part of our team, so my understanding is that he is feeling better.”
Rask got the start for the Bruins last Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jaro Halak and Rask split the game, where he made 17 saves on 20 shots in 25:30. However, he missed practice the next day. And, while Cassidy said that Rask is feeling better, the absence was due to a cough that made him self-quarantine for two days.
“It wasn’t easy to lay in your bed for a couple days,” said Rask. “But, you try to catch up and get your legs back under your feet. A couple more games, round robin, and I am confident the next few days I will be back to normal…I had a cough, so I clicked yes on the app and red lights started blinking. I was quarantined for two days. They wanted to do two negative tests after that, and that’s it.”
Halak was between the pipes for Sunday’s 4-1 loss against the Flyers making 25 saves in the defeat. Dan Vladar dressed as back-up.
Seeing Rask back for practice is a promising start, as despite the defeat against the Blue Jackets, Rask and Halak 18-6-6, 2.39 GAA and .919 save percentage) won the William Jennings Trophy as the best goaltending tandem in the NHL this season. He was 26-8-6 with a 2.12 GAA and .929 save percentage. The NHL announced that Rask was named a Vezina Trophy finalist for the second time in his career last month.