After pulling goalie Tuukka Rask for ‘maintenance’ reasons following the second period of Game 6 and replacing him with rookie Jeremy Swayman in a 5-4 loss to the Islanders Monday, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy assumed Rask would be good to go for Game 6 Wednesday night at the Nassau Coliseum.
“I assume he will,” Cassidy said when asked point-blank if his No.1 goalie would be ready to help his team stave off elimination as he has three times before in a Game 6 on the road.
The most recent of those clutch performances (yes Tuukka Rask has delivered plenty of clutch performances for the Boston Bruins!), came two years ago tomorrow in St. Louis. That’s when Rask made 28 saves to help the Bruins avoid elimination in a 5-1 win over the Blues in Game 6 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. However, based on the almost 180 Cassidy took on Tuesday with the media regarding Rask’s availability for Game 6 of the East Division Final, things feel a bit different than they did two years ago today.
“We’ll find out tomorrow,” the always blunt Cassidy said in a mid-day Zoom session with reporters.
Cassidy then stressed that he and his staff have no issues with Rask’s performance in this series or the five-game series win over the Washington Capitals in the first round. Rask did let in four goals on 16 shots in Game 5 but he’s 6-3 with a 2.20 GAA and a .925 save percentage in the playoffs.
“We’re happy with his performance. He’s been better than he was yesterday, but we weren’t good enough in front of him. There are health issues,” Cassidy said once again indicating this health issue is maybe worse than he thought.
“We’re not dissatisfied with Tuukka’s play. There are some health issues. Listen, we know he missed some time this year. We’re not going to get into where he’s at if it affects his game, all that. There’s also a lot of games in a row he’s played. At some point that could be an issue in the playoffs. There’s a lot of things that go into it.”