Rask not starting vs. Habs with 'very minor injury'

Rask not starting vs. Habs with 'very minor injury'

BOSTON – As has happened countless times the past few years, Tuukka Rask will not be starting against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Anton Khudobin will get the nod against the Habs with Rask nursing a “very minor injury,” according to Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. Rask got the win on Thursday night against the Penguins in his third game in a six-day span, but was dreadful in the first period allowing three goals on the first six shots he faced before settling in. With Khudobin scheduled to play either Saturday vs. Montreal or Tuesday night at home against the Detroit Red Wings, Cassidy opted to go with the backup against Boston’s arch-rivals in their final meeting of the season.

“I talked to Tuukka and he’s playing through a very, very minor injury, so we’ll give him a couple of extra days before going against Detroit, and then we’ll split them up again on the weekend,” said Cassidy. “The discussion was with Tuukka himself. Listen, he knows his body better than I do. ‘Are you good to go, or are you better off [with a few days rest]?’…that’s how we’re laying it out.

“So he said ‘No, let’s get Anton in there and I’ll use the extra time.’ That will happen with other players as well, and that will be a part of it. Will we have the luxury to do that with other players down the stretch? I don’t know. Right now we like our position. We’d like to move up…don’t get me wrong. But we’re not in a dogfight like some of the other teams, so we can afford to a little bit of that.”

The break this weekend should be a welcome one for Rask as he’s posted an .888 save percentage in his past six games and allowed three goals or more in four of those six games, including a blowout loss in Vancouver Canucks on Boston’s last road trip. With a history of wearing down in the stretch run, keeping Rask fresh and 100 percent efficient has been one of Boston’s big seasonal goals this year, and sitting him on Saturday - against a team he's 10-15-3 lifetime, with a 2.41 goals-against average - would certainly qualify as part of that.

The Bruins just have to hope that putting their No. 1 goalie in bubble wrap for a few days elicits the same kind of hot streak as the one Rask rode midseason when he went 21 consecutive starts with a point, and went 19-0-2 in that stretch as the NHL’s hottest goalie.

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Canadiens with Danton Heinen also returning to the lineup, and pushing Tommy Wingels up to the press box as a healthy scratch:  










Bruins trade target Hanifin traded to Calgary

Bruins trade target Hanifin traded to Calgary

Former Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin, a Bruins trade target who they once tried to trade up to get in the 2015 draft, has been traded from the Carolina Hurricanes to the Calgary Flames in a deal that includes former B's defenseman Dougie Hamilton going to Carolina.

The 'Canes sent center Eric Lindholm and Hanifin, both restricted free agents who rejected Carolina's most recent contract offers, to Calgary for Hamilton, winger Micheal Ferland and prospect defenseman Adam Fox, who was a third-round pick in 2016 now playing at Harvard,

The Bruins have a longstanding interest in Hanifin that goes back to their efforts to trade up for him in when he was the fifth overall pick three years ago. The Canes likely sought Bruins left winger Jake DeBrusk in the hefty package they were seeking for Hanifin. 




Bruins choose Swedish D-man, Czech forward with first two picks

Bruins choose Swedish D-man, Czech forward with first two picks

DALLAS – On the second day, the Bruins finally got involved in the NHL draft at the American Airlines Center and made a few picks. The day started in the second round (57th overall) with the B’s selecting young Swedish defenseman Axel Andersson from Djugardens, a 6-foot, 183-pounder from the Swedish junior leagues who's put up pretty good offensive numbers with what’s said to be pretty good skating ability.

"It meant a lot to me and my family," Anderson said. "My mom is in tears right now, and we just hugged each other. It was a big day for me."

In the third round (77th overall), the Bruins took Czech center/left wing Jakub Lauko, who played for Team Czech in the World Junior tournament this past season. Lauko, 18, is 6-foot, 179 pounds and is a speedy, tenacious forward from the assorted scouting reports on him. Lauko was expected to be drafted higher than the third round and certainly didn’t lack for confidence in saying he’s one of the fastest skaters in the draft.

“My speed is my biggest strength. I think I’m one of the fastest players in the draft, so I want to use my speed to help a team like Boston,” said Lauko, who said he only spoke with the Bruins scouts at the NHL combine earlier this month in Buffalo. “[Detroit Red Wings'] Dylan Larkin is the same like me. He’s a really fast guy that likes the breakaways. I think in this way we are the same.”

Lauko compared himself to Larkin and the speed game is certainly one that the Bruins are continually interested in with their prospects.

There was a very funny moment when the Czech-born Lauko was asked what his parents do (for a living), and he misunderstood the question and answered: “I don’t know? Maybe they will drink tonight.”

In the fourth round (119th overall), the Bruins took big center Curtis Hall, a 6-foot-3, 191-pounder who's committed to Yale next season and who scored 13 goals and 31 points in 54 games last season for the USHL Youngstown Phantoms.  

In the sixth round with the 181st pick, the Bruins selected 6-2, 188-pound defenseman Dustyn McFaul out of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. McFaul is considered a strong two-way D-men with good size and skating ability and is committed to play at Clarkson University. 

With their final pick (seventh round, No. 212), the Bruins selected forward Pavel Shen, 18, from Russia. The 6-1, 183-pounder got into 29 KHL games last season with 12 goals and 14 assists, which is impressive considering his age.