The Boston Bruins, winless but with two points through the first three games of their four-game road swing through Canada, will look to break even and get starting goaltender Tuukka Rask back on track tonight in Ottawa against the Senators.
The 31-year-old Rask has been off to a shaky, inconsistent start to this season, and sat as a backup in back-to-back games last week, which was perhaps deserved after allowing four goals on 28 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.
“He’s admitted his start isn’t where he wants it to be, so tonight is his opportunity to find his game again. Hopefully he does,” Cassidy said of Rask’s start to the year. “I think he’s been good. We were lousy in front of him in Washington… nobody was any good. Calgary, he had a couple that he’d like back. So it’s not like he’s been bad, just not at the Tuukka level.”
Rask stopped 28 of 31 shots against in a win against the Senators earlier this month, and enters play with four straight victories over the Sens dating back to last season, with just six goals allowed and a .943 save percentage over that span.
Overall, Rask has 12 wins and a .924 save percentage in 24 career starts against the Senators.
Ottawa counters with Craig Anderson. It’s early, of course, but this is looking like another classic ‘every other’ year from the veteran Anderson, who has posted four wins and a .920 save percentage in six decisions. Anderson turned 24 of 27 shots aside in a win over the Canadiens on Saturday, and is on a three-game winning streak with just five goals surrendered over that span.
The Bruins will also skate without forward David Backes (upper-body) as well as defensemen Kevan Miller (upper-body) and Charlie McAvoy (undisclosed) for the second straight game. All three players have reported back to Boston, with additional updates expected to come once the Bruins return to the Hub and go through a Wednesday practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
Dating back to the start of the 2017-18 season, the Bruins have won five straight meetings with Ottawa, and absolutely pummeled them on the scoreboard over that stretch, outscoring Guy Boucher’s squad 24-6.
Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen – David Krejci – Jake DeBrusk
Anders Bjork – Joakim Nordstrom – Chris Wagner
Ryan Donato – Sean Kuraly – Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo
John Moore – Steven Kampfer
Urho Vaakanainen – Matt Grzelcyk