In Monday’s night Game 2 against the New York Islanders, the Boston Bruins fell 4-3 in overtime. B’s goaltender Tuukka Rask gave up four goals, stopping 35 out of 39 shots. While this doesn’t look good, he actually played decently, as he gave his team a chance to win and made some big saves to keep Boston in the game.
However, towards the end of the second period, Rask attempted to make a save on a shot that ended up going wide. He stretched out to his right, basically diving over. While the shot went wide and around the boards to the other side of the ice, Rask stayed down on his knees for a bit longer than he normally would and was a bit slow getting over to his left to get back into position.
For the rest of the sequence and period, Rask looked off as if he were nursing an injury. I really thought we were going to get the playoff debut of Jeremy Swayman, but Rask played the third and overtime.
Tuesday morning, B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed my observations, Rask was nursing some injuries and is currently dealing with nagging injuries.
The Boston Bruins should turn to Jeremy Swayman with Tuukka Rask not at 100%.
Cassidy also noted that unless Rask says otherwise, Rask will be starting Game 3.
I think this is the wrong decision as Rask could further injure himself and just doesn’t give the team the best chance at winning if he isn’t fully healthy.
While Rask is one of the best goaltenders in the league when he is healthy, the same obviously can’t be said when he’s injured. And there just isn’t a good enough reason to continue to play Rask if he’s injured when the team has two capable goaltenders to start a few games in Swayman and Jaroslav Halak.
With Swayman being the back up to Rask this postseason, the job would go to him. While he hasn’t played in an NHL playoff game so far in his young career, he has shown that he can handle any situation and remain calm under immense pressure.
Over Swayman’s 10 career NHL games, he has a 7-3 record, 1.50 goals-against average, .945 save percentage, .900 quality start percentage , and two shutouts — including a 25-save shutout in his one game against the Isles.
So while Swayman may be a rookie and has never played in an NHL playoff game, would it really hurt the team to play him over an injured Rask? Rask isn’t going to get over his injuries by playing and I don’t think his play is going to get any better while injured — it’ll probably get worse. So give Swayman a chance and have Rask back up.