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Bruins G Jaro Halak On NHL COVID List, Vladar To Start Against Flyers

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BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 27: Boston Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) prepares to make save during the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins NHL game on February 27, 2020, at TD Garden in Boston, MA. (Photo by John Crouch/Icon Sportswire)

On the same day, the Boston Bruins got winger Jake DeBrusk back from the NHL Covid Protocol list, they lost goalie Jaro Halak to the dreaded list as the goalie tested positive on Monday morning.

Jaro Halak was not on the ice for the Bruins’ game-day skate and will not dress tonight when the Boston Bruins (19-10-5, 43 pts, .632 points percentage) host the Philadelphia Flyers (17-14-5, 39 pts, .542 points percentage) in the first of a crucial home and home set. If the Flyers win both games, they would tie the Bruins for the final playoff spot in the East.

“Jaro popped a positive test,” Head Coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters after the skate Monday. “We gotta follow up with more testing for him so he wasn’t able to go on the ice per protocol. When we get more information on that, we’ll pass it on, but ‘Vlad’. …Vladar was scheduled to start tonight, so he’s going to stay in there and we’ll worry about tomorrow when we get more info.”

Jaro Halak is 9-5-3 with a 2.44 GAA and .910 save percentage.

Rookie goalie Dan Vladar (2-1, 2.03 goals-against average, .929 save percentage) was already scheduled to start Monday night at TD Garden but he will now be backed up by fellow rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman who has dominated in his first AHL season with the Providence Bruins. Swayman is 8-1 with a 1.89 GAA and .933 save percentage for the P-Bruins this season.

There was some positive goaltending news as Tuukka Rask, who has missed the last five games with what’s believed to be a lower-back injury, skated again Monday. Rask will travel with the team on the upcoming three-game road trip that sees them play the Flyers in Philly tomorrow, the Washington Capitals on Thursday in Washington DC and then back to the City of Brotherly Love for a 2 PM ET matinee on Saturday.

“Tuukka skated; he’s getting better,” Cassidy said of Rask. “He’s not playing tonight; he’s not playing tomorrow. He’ll travel with us, get some work and see where it ends up.”

After missing six games with what’s believed to be a lower-back injury, Rask returned to start against the New York Islanders on March 25. He stopped all six shots he faced in the opening frame but left after a period and did not return. Jaro Halak replaced Rask in that game but the Bruins would blow their 2-0 lead after one and lose 4-3 in a shootout. It’s been a touch and go situation for Rask since he originally injured his back on March 7 and as reported here on Sunday, that and basically exactly what happened with Halak today, already had begun searching the NHL Trade deadline for some depth goaltending ahead of the April 12 NHL Trade Deadline.

Rask is 8-4-2 with a 2.04 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

Another injured player, defenseman Kevan Miller (knee), will also join the Boston Bruins on the road and could finally get in the lineup tomorrow night in Philadelphia for the first time since February 18.

“He’s going to be a chance to play tomorrow,” Cassidy said of Miller who will have missed 20 straight games by tomorrow night. “He skated today and he’s put some good work in and today was maybe one of the final tuneups. Obviously, back-to-back’s are gonna be a challenge. We’re gonna have to monitor that with the way the year’s gone. So, we’re targeting tomorrow but I’ll give ya a better idea later in the day tomorrow but that’s the plan and then from there? We’ll see how he reacts to it.”

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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