Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed that goalie Tuukka Rask will get the nod between the pipes tonight in Game 2 (8 PM ET) against the Carolina Hurricanes. Rask made 23 saves in a 4-3 double-overtime win for the Bruins on Wednesday.
The fact that Game 1 began at 11 AM ET and ended at 3 PM ET Wednesday, after being postponed Tuesday night, helped convince Cassidy that Rask would be ready to finish off a back-to-back. Cassidy would usually go with Jaro Halak in such a situation but that extended time-lapse and not having to travel were the deciding factors in going with Rask again.
“A lot to do with it,” Cassidy acknowledged of the unusual extra time between a back-to-back. “I think I said when I was asked yesterday or whatever day it was, probably three factors. How’s Tuukka feeling coming out of the game? He felt fine. Was there a lot of wear and tear to the point where recovery would require more than 24 hours or 30 hours? I don’t think so. It was pretty clean in front of him, not a lot of stretches where – demanding stretches.
Still, it was four periods of hockey, he had to be ready on his toes the whole game. And then, yes, the timing of the two games. And the last thing as I said, back-to-back decisions are a lot to do with travel, short night sleep. We didn’t have any of those factors. We went to the rink and back here to the hotel. So obviously there’s no travel and like I said, you get a full night’s sleep. So that had a lot to do with it.”
Given the way things went Tuesday with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning needing five overtimes to decide their series opener, Cassidy stressed that while there is a schedule in place for the goalie rotation, there are even more elements than Tuesday’s situation involved that could alter that schedule and as they’ve learned to do throughout the NHL Return, they will just roll with the punches and adapt.
“If what happens in the Tampa game. We’ve seen that already, and Columbus. Or if we play extra time, which we did yesterday,” Cassidy said giving examples of how things can change. “That’s one way it’s affected us. And that can be a good thing too, when the guys get a full day. Sometimes you don’t want a full day when you play at noon. You’d like to – but players may think differently. This is a unique situation. You have to embrace it.
Then down the road, right now we’ve got a scheduled back-to-back. Both eight o’clock, so who knows what TV – they could change. You don’t want to – I think it’s dangerous to get too far ahead of yourself in this particular format. Because things can change. It’s the way it is. So, we’re keeping that in mind and try to focus on the one game at a time mentality while still keeping guys fresh. We know that you can’t just ignore the fact that there is a lot of hockey coming up and wear guys out. It is playoff hockey and I think you try to stay in the moment as much as you possibly can. But clearly, I think if you’re asking about our goaltending situation, have we pre-planned for that. We have. And again, as I said, with the Tuukka decision today, typically not a back-to-back guy. I think I just laid out the three factors that allowed us to do that. We’ll consider those down the road again.”
Cassidy said that as of Noon ET, he was going with the same lineup he used in Game 1 for Game 2 but again cautioned that things can change between now and the 8 PM ET puck drop.
“We have a couple guys that are – after yesterday’s game are getting some treatment,” Cassidy said. “Right now, we plan on – assuming everyone is healthy, to play. We will put the same lineup on the ice. If not, obviously we’ll have to make that decision. That’s what we’re looking at right now. We had an optional skate this morning, so there were some guys that didn’t go on the ice that will take warmup and we’ll go from there.”
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