TORONTO – Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy admitted that it wasn’t an easy choice to make for a number of factors, but it will be Jaroslav Halak making the start for the B’s vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Monday night. Both Halak and Tuukka Rask have been outstanding as of late backstopping a B’s group beset by injuries, and Rask was very good in the Saturday night win over the Canadiens while stopping 31 of 33 shots and withstanding a third period barrage from the Habs in Montreal.
In fact, Rask has been excellent once again since the calendar moved to November, and is 2-1-2 with a 2.21 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in five starts this month with a three-day personal leave of absence sprinkled in as well. It sounds like the Bruins may go with a traditional two-man goalie rotation moving forward and that Rask will play on Thursday at home against the New York Islanders.
“Halak is going [against Toronto] and we’ll worry about Thursday then, but I assume right now it will probably be Tuukka,” said Cassidy of the starter in Halak, who is 8-2-2 with a 1.98 goals against average and .939 save percentage this season while wresting playing time away from Rask. “Tuukka played great [in Montreal] and we went back and forth on it, but Halak has been good. So right now it’s almost more of a rotation, especially with the five games in eight days. We’re a little bit lighter at the end of the week, so we’ll look at it then.”
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It’s certainly a tiny surprise that Rask isn’t getting the nod here, given his strong career numbers against the Maple Leafs after getting traded from there to Boston way back when.
But it’s also a good sign for the red-hot Rask, however, that he’s pushing for equal time consideration and could inevitably reclaim sole No. 1 goalie ownership when the expected cool streak arrives for Halak between the pipes.
In other Bruins lineup news, it looks like Anders Bjork will draw back into the lineup for the Bruins after a pair of healthy scratches and Sean Kuraly may end up being the odd man out. Here is the projected B’s lineup based on the morning skate in Toronto:
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