BOSTON -- Bruce Cassidy had some fun with the media this week by playing around with the notion that Tuukka Rask might not make a quick Sunday trip to Chicago for a matinee at the United Center since Anton Khudobin is starting against the Blackhawks.
"We had every intention of bringing [Rask to Chicago]," said Cassidy. "There was some stuff floating around . . . I shouldn't say we were having a little fun with it because you never know where it can go, but he's going to Chicago."
Rask will go as Khudobin's backup, and in doing so avoid the kind of prima-donna treatment usually reserved for pampered starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. The funny part of it, though, is that Rask has probably earned that treatment with the way he's bounced back and played this week after a low point against Tampa Bay.
Rask stopped 24 out of 26 shots in the 5-2 win over the Panthers on Saturday afternoon and was at his best in the final period, stopping 13 shots from all angles, shapes and sizes as Florida tried to come back in what was a one-goal game most of the time.
"He was terrific," said Cassidy. "They certainly came with, you know, the intent to get the tying goal and pushed hard . . . [We] bent certainly but didn't break. Tuukka made some good stops and we were able to limit any second-chance opportunities, which is important. "
In all, Rask has allowed just three goals in his last three games, all of them wins, and has stopped 75 of 78 shots for a .962 save percentage. The Bruins No. 1 goaltender clearly has his mojo completely back in his possession, and the hope is that some rest on Sunday will allow the Bruins to take care of business while needing three wins in their last four games to clinch a playoff spot, or just two wins if they beat Tampa Bay in regulation on Tuesday.
"It's been a trend lately," said Rask, who matched a career-high with his 36th win of the season on Saturday. "We haven't played our best hockey for 60 minutes. But we've grinded it out and got the results. So, hopefully that trend continues. The rest is a big factor at this point in the year. Doby [Anton Khudobin] is going to step up [on Sunday] and play a great game against Chicago."
And then Rask is going to need to keep stepping up next week until the Bruins get their playoff ticket punched.