Rask back at practice after taking puck to the neck, says he’ll be ready Saturday

Rask back at practice after taking puck to the neck, says he’ll be ready Saturday

BRIGHTON, Mass – Tuukka Rask said he was okay on Thursday night after a heavy Roman Josi shot to his neck knocked him out of the first period of a 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators and he lived up to that word at practice on Friday. 

Rask skated for a half-hour at at Warrior Ice Arena and pronounced himself ready to go for the Saturday matinee against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden.

Claude Julien brushed it off as not much of a big deal with his No. 1 goaltender even if there were some touch-and-go moments in Nashville on Thursday night.

“Tuukka’s good,” said Julien. Ask was knocked out of the game after making three saves in the first period. “I don’t know if we dodged a bullet. He’s just fine. There’s a risk in every game for every player, and he’s fine. That’s the most important thing right now.”

Bruins medical staff pulled Rask for precautionary reasons to ensure his neck didn’t begin to swell up and close his airway, and due to concussion protocol after the puck caught part of his jaw as well.

But Rask said he was all good to jump right back into the fray and didn’t totally view it as having dodged a bullet in the form of a much more serious injury.

“It was a heavy shot right in the neck. I just needed to catch my breath a little bit and make sure it didn’t swell up, so I could still breathe. It was fine,” said Rask, who said he designed the jaw portion of his mask to be a little longer and thereby protect the real vulnerable parts of his neck.

“It happened in Florida where [Jaromir] Jagr kind of hit me there with a wrister. Without a neck guard I guess I shouldn’t be turning my head sideways, but when it’s coming 100-mph you can’t help but react in a certain way. I just got it right there…it happens.

“I’ll be good [for Saturday]. It caught part of my jaw too, so I had to go through the concussion testing there. I just had to make sure the breathing was normal and stuff, so it’s all good.”

Rask said he may revisit going with a dangling neck guard in the future, but that wouldn’t happen until the offseason at the earliest. So, the Bruins and their goaltender just have to hope the Josi shot was a once-in-a-season event that won’t repeat itself with a player the Bruins can’t afford to lose. 

Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

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Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

GOLD STAR: Jaden Schwartz stepped up and won the game for the Blues with a couple of really good plays in the third period and overtime. He took advantage of a line change and a lax Bruins defense to snap a shot past Anton Khudobin from the face-off circle in the third period that tied up the game, and then went on a one-man rush in overtime before blasting a puck past Khudobin for the game-winner on a beautiful individual play. Schwartz finished with the two goals that represented all of the St. Louis offense, four shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 20:02 of ice time while logging a plus-2 rating as well. The Blues clearly needed somebody to step up to the plate with Vladimir Tarasenko and the Schwartz was with St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins were quite literally black and blue after a physical, punishing game with the St. Louis Blues. A number of players took heavy hits against a St. Louis team that felt free to throw hits and take runs with Zdeno Chara and David Backes out of Boston’s lineup among other players, and that culminated with Brayden Schenn drilling David Krejci in the second period. It was a hit that earned Schenn a two minute penalty for charging midway through the period, but shouldn’t result in anything more for the Blues forward. The hit wasn’t late, his skates were on the ice when he made contact, and Krejci was crouched down when Schenn made impact on a heavy check with his elbows tucked in, so it looked like a relatively clean hit that isn’t going to be on the radar of the NHL’s Player Safety Department. That physicality for the Blues really seemed to slow down the Bruins a little bit as things went on over the 60 plus minutes of the overtime game.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually only got outshot by a 15-13 margin in the second period, third period and overtime, but it was clear that they slowed down in terms of attacking and creating chances as things moved on in the game. By the latter half of the game the Bruins were simply trying to hang on to their one-goal lead, and then after that simply trying to hang in there for the point earned by getting to overtime. They managed to do it, but it was a different wave of momentum in the game once the Blues tied things up in the third period on Schwartz’s first goal. After that the Bruins were scrambling and hanging on, and did just enough to hang in there for a single overtime point for the second game in a row.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Donato made it two goals in two games when he stepped into a loose puck created by an Alex Pietrangelo turnover that bounced off referee Brad Watson after he attempted to throw a puck up the middle of the ice. Donato pounced on the fortuitous bounce and rocked a puck on edge past Jake Allen for the game’s first goal and another affirmation that the 21-year-old can both shoot and score. Donato was pretty quiet after that goal, of course, with a couple of shots on net, but it seemed like a big, heavy hit on him by Dmitri Jaskin in the second period kind of quieted the youngster down a little bit. Still, you’ve got to love the production from a player just getting his feet wet at the NHL level.

BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – The number of points for the Bruins after falling in overtime by a 2-1 score to the Blues, and in getting to the century mark the B’s clinched a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s step one. Going into the season we wanted to make the playoffs and be a Stanley Cup contender. Right now we got in and we’re going to be a contender, right? Now it’s about being in the best position possible going forward.” –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in St. Louis about clinching the playoff spot on Wednesday night.


Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

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Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

With a playoff berth in-hand, the Boston Bruins celebrated on Instagram with a playful video about their fans.

The short video put their fans into categories: the hugger, the faithful, the screamer, the loose cannon, the comfortable commentator and the emotional trainwreck.

No matter how the devotees enjoy Bruins games, they can all unit over their hockey team. Here's the vide for your enjoyment.

It's playoff time. Diehards unite. #InOurBlood

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