Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Bruins sticking with Tuukka Rask vs. Lightning

Ty Anderson
November 29, 2017 - 12:46 pm

It turns out that Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask will make consecutive starts for the first time in nearly a month, as B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed Rask as his starter for the Black and Gold’s pivotal home game against the Atlantic-leading Lightning tonight at TD Garden.

Why?

“I don’t know if there’s one thing in particular,” Cassidy said of his deciding factor. “[Rask] hasn’t played a lot lately, Anton [Khudobin] has, well-documented that he’s playing well. I tried to answer it the other day that we gotta get Tuukka’s game [going], and the best way to do that is get him starts, and we’ll get him one tonight.”

Rask, for what it’s worth, has not skated off the ice with a victory since Nov. 6, and will bring a four-game losing streak to the ice tonight. He’s allowed 13 goals on 118 shots (an .890 save percentage) over that four-game slide, but seemed to be at his ‘best’ in his last outing, a 32-of-35 losing performance against the Oilers this past Sunday.

“I thought his game was solid. I think the first goal he’s off his angle, the second one is in off our foot, and the third one’s a good shot,” Cassidy said of Rask’s Sunday outing. “So, the first one is a stoppable puck, and as I’ve said before, I think it comes down, a lot of times with Tuukka, to one save or one goal at the other end.”

But they’ll probably (read as: most definitely) need more than one save from Rask against a juggernaut Bolts squad that’s scored the third-most goals in the league (87 goals through 24 games) and boasts the league’s best power play (26.9 percent).

“It is a good challenge for him,” Cassidy acknowledged of Rask’s task at hand. “He’s getting back in the net and against a good hockey club, knowing the other guys [are] playing well. We’ve also said we don’t mind the competition. We’ve been looking for someone to push Tuukka. We’ve got it now. We’d like to see him respond as well.”

When asked what he wanted to do with his next appearance after yesterday’s practice, the 30-year-old Rask was straight and to the point, if not annoyed: “Win.”

Rask has 13 wins and a .904 save percentage in 20 career games against Tampa Bay.

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