After two solid performances by his goalie in the final two round-robin games, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is confident his Vezina Trophy finalist goalie Tuukka Rask is ready to go for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Bruins will begin their quest to return to the Stanley Cup Final and finish what they started last year when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs tomorrow night at 8 PM ET in Toronto.
Rask and forward David Pastrnak missed practice Monday and were deemed unfit to play but both are expected to be in the lineup tomorrow. Cassidy likes where his No. 1 goalie is as the games get real.
“He’s looked sharp I think the last two games,” Cassidy said. “He’s tracking pucks well. He’s seeing the puck. I thought his puck play was pretty good the other night in terms of helping the breakout at times when we were under duress. It tells me he’s engaged in the game. Like I said, I like where his game is at right now. Today he was off. I don’t want to speculate but we plan on using him tomorrow night and I believe he’ll be ready to go.”
When asked how he’s feeling as the playoffs rapidly approach, Rask, who missed the Bruins’ first round-robin game, echoed Cassidy’s sentiments. Rask made 34 saves in a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Lightning last Wednesday and then made 23 saves in a 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
“Sure yeah, got to play a couple of games. I think there’s enough action that you got your rhythm back,” Rask said Sunday. “Obviously the first period today there was nothing going on besides the goal. But then in the second they had some looks there on the power play and got some saves too so felt good.”
Cassidy was asked if given the condensed and busy playoff schedule ahead, would he consider starting Jaro Halak in the first round against the Hurricanes?
“We’ll see how it goes,” Cassidy said. “Again, coming into this with those unknowns. How is Tuukka going to recover? We haven’t played a lot of hockey, does that help him as he’s fresher or does he need more time in between because he doesn’t play a lot? He’s starting tomorrow night and then from there, we’ll go from there.”