DETROIT — In a surprise move at the start of Sunday’s game against the Red Wings, Tuukka Rask was introduced as the starting goalie for the Bruins after serving as the winning goaltender in Saturday afternoon’s home win over the Arizona Coyotes.
Backup Jaroslav Halak was expected to be the starting goaltender against the Wings as he is while alternating pretty much all back-to-back games with Rask, but an upper body injured “flared up” and prevented him from playing.
There was no word from Bruce Cassidy postgame about whether or not this might be an issue for the 34-year-old Halak moving forward, but the goalie was apparently feeling well enough to play if Rask had run into any health issues during the loss.
“He has an upper body injury that we assumed was fine. He played with it Wednesday and practiced, but it flared up today and with a 12:30 (game) there was not a lot of time to prepare. So Tuukka had to play. We felt he wasn’t going to be able to give us 100 percent, and that’s a position where you can’t really give just 70 or 80 percent. So Tuukka went in and played well, but unfortunately we weren’t able to pick up some goals.”
There was a brief moment of nervousness when Rask took an Andreas Athanasiou shot to the neck or shoulder area that caused head trainer Donnie DelNegro to come out and check on him, but Rask was able to continue without any issues.
Halak was warming up like he was going to play in the hallway outside the Bruins dressing room at Little Caesars Arena just an hour before puck drop, but he never made it to the bench at any point in the 3-1 loss for the Black and Gold.
Rask ended up stopping 17 of 19 shots in a game where the Bruins dominated puck possession and lost, and turned the rare trick of playing both ends of a back-to-back for the Bruins where they played the two matinees less than 24 hours apart.