Bruins starting goaltender Tuukka Rask claims he feels good after a collision with defenseman Anders Bjork last week in practice that resulted in a concussion. Boston certainly missed him in his absence, and a return against the Vancouver Canucks Thursday will be vital for the team’s confidence after a demoralizing loss to the Sabres over the weekend.
With extra rest, expect Rask to be on top of his game if he does return against the Canucks. The Bruins absolutely need to make a statement and prove Saturday night was an outlier. With the return of Rask, the defense should feel more comfortable in front of an elite goalie. Luckily, it seems as if the concussion was very minor so there should be no lingering issues when he returns.
Right now Boston is 3-3-1, and the poor goaltending in Rask’s absence has only been the tip of the iceberg. Team defense has been awful, but the Bruins have missed almost all of their veteran presence in the first month of the season with Patrice Bergeron and David Backes both out. David Krecji has also missed time, as well as veteran defenseman Adam McQuaid.
Regardless, Rask’s return will be huge for the Bruins as Anton Khudobin has not proven he can take on a big role in net. Rask almost certainly would have prevented the rebound that led to Boston’s overtime loss Saturday, a play Anton Khudobin had absolutely zero excuse not to make. The Bruins may need to lean heavily on Rask for the majority of the season — something they did last year and wanted to address in the offseason, but seemingly have not.