Bruce Cassidy explains why Tuukka Rask left Bruins’ Game 5 loss to Islanders
The Bruins are on the verge of elimination after suffering a 5-4 loss to the Islanders. And at the end of the contest, there are questions about Tuukka Rask.
The longtime Boston goaltender was replaced before the third period Monday night by Jeremy Swayman. There was no update on Rask’s injuries during the game, which raised questions among the Bruins’ loyalists.
Was Rask taken out due to poor performance? He had allowed four goals on just 16 shots during the game. Or was there an element of injury to Rask’s exit?
As coach Bruce Cassidy explained after the game, Rask was not “100%” in the loss.
“There was a little maintenance to do. It wasn’t 100%, so we made a decision,” Cassidy said, per Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston. “It’s a call we had to make between periods. I’ll just say he wasn’t himself (or) 100%. I certainly could have gone back, but we made the decision to do not reinstate him. “
Rask didn’t look comfortable on the ice, so if he was healing even a minor injury, replacing him seemed like the right decision.
It’s also noteworthy that Rask was the second goaltender on the ice for morning practice on game day. Usually the first goaltender on the ice is the starter, so the Bruins have decided to put Rask on the ice second perhaps as a maintenance move. Either way, it served as a bit of a red flag on his overall health.
Will Rask be ready to play in Game 6? Cassidy seems confident that Rask will adapt.
“I guess he will [play]”said Cassidy.
That’s good news for Bruins fans, but they’ll still want to keep an eye on Boston’s injury record and how they line up in morning practice before Wednesday’s game.
If Rask can’t get dressed, Swayman would take the start instead. The rookie replacement faced three shots in his lone spell on Monday. He allowed a goal on a Brock Nelson shot. It ended up being decisive, which made Swayman the losing keeper.
During the regular season, Swayman made 10 starts and posted a 7-3-0 record for the Bruins with a .945 save percentage and a 1.50 goals-against average. He played well enough to supplant Jaroslav Halak as the first substitute.