The Bruins (finally) struck first in their series against the Hurricanes, outlasting Carolina 4-3 in double overtime in Game 1. But the teams won't have long to rest, not with Game 2 set for tomorrow night at 8 p.m.
While the B's lineup shouldn't change that much, the quick turnaround raises the obvious question: Will Tuukka Rask get the start in net on short rest?
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Head coach Bruce Cassidy wouldn't reveal his Game 2 starter in the aftermath of Wednesday afternoon's victory, though he certainly left the door open to go with Rask over backup Jaroslav Halak.
"We'll talk about tomorrow tonight. We'll let everybody enjoy this one," Cassidy said. "The one thing about today's game, there wasn't a lot of taxing stretches in our own end where goalies will fatigue and dehydrate. Penalty kill was pretty solid in that regard, didn't get stuck a lot in our end so that is a bag factor on the recovery of Tuukka. Don't forget, a lot of the back-to-back games specifically with us -- well, everybody -- is you're traveling and you're getting a poor night's sleep and an early morning. So those won't be the case in this particular back-to-back.
"Everyone should sleep well tonight, get some rest so there's that consideration too. So you got two things that tilt towards Tuukka getting a back-to-back start. I'm not saying that's going to happen because the conversation needs to happen between him and [goaltending coach] Bob [Essensa] and if we feel like Jaro gives us the best chance to win, we'll certainly go that route."
Cassidy brings up a good point, as Rask wasn't exactly peppered with shots the way that Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo was when he made an NHL playoff-record 85 saves in a five-OT marathon Tuesday night. Rask only faced 28 shots in 80-plus minutes, and 12 of those came in the third period alone.
But playing on back-to-back days isn't a regular part of Rask's routine. He only did that once this season -- a 4-2 win over the Coyotes followed by a 3-1 road loss to the lowly Red Wings in February -- and he's only started on consecutive days four times over the last four seasons. In that time, he has a 1-3 record on the second day, with his lone win coming back in November 2016.
Still, appearing on "Postgame Live" on NBC Sports Boston following Game 1, Joe Haggerty explained why starting Rask might make more sense.
"Making that decision tomorrow, I might actually go back with Rask for this reason: They're now playing six games in nine days and that's pretty hard-core for the NHL schedule because of the game getting pushed back to today," Haggerty said. "I think for the Bruins, an older team, it would benefit them to try to take care of the Hurricanes as quickly as they could, and you run Tuukka back out there again and maybe you get up 2-0 in the series and you can cut them down in shorter order rather than getting in a longer series where all those games packed into a few short days might start to give the Bruins' legs some trouble. I do think at some point in this series -- there's another back-to-back next week -- Halak is going to play."
Whatever Cassidy decides, the Bruins should be in good hands. While Halak is technically the B's backup, he's a very good 1B option, finishing the season with a 2.39 goals against average and .919 save percentage, teaming with Rask to win the Jennings Trophy.