The Bruins are turning back to their No. 1 goalie in their matchup against the hottest team in the NHL. Head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters on Wednesday that Tuukka Rask will start in goal over Anton Khudobin against the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden.
In other significant lineup news, David Backes will return to the lineup Wednesday night just four weeks removed from surgery to have part of his colon removed – which originally gave him an eight-week timetable. Brad Marchand will also return after missing the Bruins’ last six games, as will Ryan Spooner after sitting out Sunday’s loss to the Oilers.
Elsewhere, Adam McQuaid skated for the first time since breaking his fibula on Oct. 19 against the Canucks. Anders Bjork continues to skate with the team and is a “possibility” to return Saturday against the Flyers, according to Cassidy.
Rask is just 3-8-2 on the season with a 2.91 goals against average and .899 save percentage. He has allowed three or more goals in 10 of his 13 starts. Khudobin, meanwhile, has earned extra playing time with a 7-0-2 start. He has posted a 2.22 GAA and .931 save percentage.
Cassidy made it clear that Rask remains the Bruins’ No.1 goaltender and that Khudobin is still firmly in the backup spot, despite “pushing” Rask as of late. Rask faces a major challenge on Wednesday night against the Lightning, who are third the NHL with 88 goals scored on the season (3.67 goals per game) and lead the league with a 26.88 power play percentage.