By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
After playing through an injury in the third period and overtime of a 3-2 win over the Penguins on Tuesday, Tuukka Rask will be given a true night off, with Daniel Vladar recalled to be Jaroslav Halak’s backup for Thursday’s rematch at TD Garden.
Finishing Tuesday’s victory with 28 saves, the 33-year-old Rask appeared to tweak something in his hip (or backside) on a left-to-right slide moments before Jason Zucker’s goal in the third period. And while Rask was well enough to stay in the game — and add another three saves to his line — the B’s seem to be exercising as much caution as they can for what is the seventh game of 56.
“We are gonna use Vladar only because we’re gonna give [Rask] a full night off,” Cassidy said Thursday. “We kind of went through this today. The decision was made that if he wasn’t going to start then let’s keep him out of any worries about putting him in if anything should happen to Jaro. That’s the thinking.”
Tuukka Rask is hurting following this sequence that leads to Zucker's goal.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) January 27, 2021
However, he's staying in the game. pic.twitter.com/Ye2rXM7wVq
This decision doesn’t alter the Bruins’ plans much at all, as the veteran Halak was always scheduled to start this contest.
Halak enters action with a 1-0-1 record and .938 save percentage on the year, and is no stranger to the Pens, as the Bruins gave him the start in all three of their 2019-20 meetings with Pittsburgh. Halak earned two victories and stopped 87 of the 96 shots thrown his way (a .906 save percentage) in that three-game head-to-head last season, and takes to the ice having won 11 of his 22 career starts against the Penguins.
The 6-foot-6 Vladar’s lone NHL appearance to date came in mop-up duty of last year’s Game 3 loss to the Lightning, with Vladar stopping 12-of-15 in nearly 29 minutes of action.
As it pertains to Rask, meanwhile, the Bruins are certainly looking at tonight’s absence as a one-off.
“Rask will go back in on Saturday,” Cassidy noted. “That’s the plan right now.”
For more coverage of the Boston Bruins, listen to the latest episode of the SideLines Podcast with Matt Dolloff and Ty Anderson…