NASHVILLE – The one player the Bruins can’t afford to lose for any extended length of time is All-Star goaltender Tuukka Rask, and they may have dodged a bullet with him on Thursday night.
Rask was forced out of Thursday night’s game against the Nashville Predators after catching a Roman Josi shot in the throat area midway through the first period. It was pretty clear quickly afterward that something was amiss. Rask immediately went down after being hit by the puck and had to be helped off the ice and back to the Bruins dressing room by Bruins head trainer Donnie DelNegro.
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Rask never returned to the game after his three saves in the first period, but said he “was going to be okay” while walking out of Bridgestone Arena under his own power following Boston’s 2-1 loss to the Predators. Claude Julien didn’t have any postgame update aside from confirming his No. 1 goalie had been hit in the throat area with the Josi shot.
“There are a couple of spots in our equipment that are more vulnerable than others, and it just hit him in that spot,” said B’s backup goalie Zane McIntyre. “From there you never know what happens. We know [Rask] is a battler and he’s a warrior, so he’ll be good.”
McIntyre was called in to replace the fallen Rask between the pipes, and stopped 14-of-16 shots in the loss with a pair of second period goals allowed. Obviously nothing is set in stone on Rask’s health until the Bruins make an official announcement, but it goes without saying the loss of Rask for any period of time would be disastrous to a Bruins team that’s counted him to be their best player all season.