BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Bruins welcomed back Tuukka Rask to the Warrior Ice Arena practice sheet on Friday morning after he took more than a week off the ice after re-aggravating his lower body injury in last week’s win over the Devils.
Rask took part in 3-on-3 battle drills for a large chunk of the practice while backups Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban, both still with the team, practiced at the other end of the ice for most of the session.
It remains to be seen if Rask can go against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night, while troubled early in the season by the reported hamstring/groin issues, but the Finnish netminder was clearly practicing like he was going to play in Motown and Claude Julien said Rask is making the three-game trip.
Julien said that Rask is feeling “good enough to at least backup right now.” That might pave the way for Rask to perhaps back up McIntyre on Saturday night, then step back in against divisional opponents at Florida on Tuesday and at Tampa Bay on Thursday.
“[Rask] practiced today, and he’s coming on the trip. So we’ll see,” said Julien, who indicated that a goaltender [most likely Malcolm Subban] would be headed back to Providence. “He’s feeling good, so we’ll go day-by-day. He practiced well today and if he’s good tomorrow then there are no issues there. He looked good to me today, so we’ll make that decision. We’ve gone this far with him, so we’re going to make sure we make the right decision, and not the reckless one.”
It’s just as clear they desperately need him back given the shaky state of their defense after allowing a ghoulish 11 goals in their past two losses to the Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers.
David Backes was still missing from the practice ice while recovering from his elbow procedure, so Claude Julien was again mixing and matching the lines amid a three-game losing streak.
Here are the line combos and D-pairings from practice: