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.