Still without Tuukka Rask, the Boston Bruins were dealt another blow in net Monday, with Jaroslav Halak officially in the NHL’s COVID protocol after a positive test, according to Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.
Halak’s move to the COVID list comes after a 23-of-28 victory over the Penguins on Saturday, and with the 35-year-old posting 9-5-3 record with a .910 save percentage and 2.44 goals against average through 17 games this year.
With Halak out, the Bruins will lean on a rookie tandem of Daniel Vladar and first-year pro Jeremy Swayman.
Vladar is off to a strong start in 2021, with two wins and a .929 save percentage through three games. Vladar even looked impressive in his first NHL loss, with numerous breakaway saves before the walls caved in on him and a rough-looking Boston defense in a 4-1 loss to the Penguins last Thursday night.
Swayman, meanwhile, has sizzled for Providence this season, with an 8-1-0 record, .933 save percentage, and 1.89 goals against average through his first nine professional games with the P-Bruins.
The good news is that Rask was on the ice Monday at Warrior Ice Arena, and the expectation is that he will travel with the team on their upcoming road trip. That’s not to say that he’ll play — the Bruins want to get him more action against NHL shooters and they’ll need to see how he reacts to any additional treatment (which has been a problem) — but the word that he is traveling versus staying at home is an undoubtedly positive sign.
So, in the now, the Bruins will sport a goaltending tandem with just 177 minutes of total NHL experience.
The Bruins host the Flyers tonight at TD Garden.
Monday’s contest also kicks off a stretch of five games in seven days for the Bruins, including three games with the Flyers and two tilts against the East-leading Capitals.