This is disappointing. But if you’re a Bruins fan, probably not that surprising, alas.
Rask missed the final game of the 2015-16 season with stomach flu, with the season on the line. He didn’t dress, watching Jonas Gustavsson give up four goals in a 6-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, as the Bruins fell short of the playoffs.
It was reminiscent of the 2014 Winter Olympics semifinal for Finland, when a stomach flu felled him before they faced Sweden. Finland lost, eventually settling for the bronze. Rask played in that game.
This isn’t any indictment of the player, necessarily. It could just be some really, really rotten luck that happens to befall him when really, really important games are happening. Really.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said that Rask came to the Bruins practice facility on Friday and got treatment on his lower body, but determined “he wouldn’t able to go” in Boston’s biggest game so far this season.
Instead, backup Anton Khudobin will get the nod against the Isles. His last start was 10 days ago against the Calgary Flames, but he’s a goalie who’s also riding a four-game winning streak headed into a mega-important game for the Black and Gold, who have lost four in a row to damage their playoff hopes.
“He came in [on Friday] with some discomfort in the lower body, so he had some work done and didn’t feel like he’d be ready to go today,” said Cassidy of Rask after the Saturday morning skate in Brooklyn. “We had talked about getting Anton [Khudobin] in any way, and that was part of it. Those plans are always subject to change. “So there’s no real surprise in that area, but we’re monitoring it really closely. We expect that he’ll be able to practice on Monday.”
By Monday, this race could be altered dramatically. The Bruins and Islanders are tied with 82 points. The Islanders have one game in hand. The Bruins have the non-shootout win advantage, 36-33, for tie-breakers. They’ll also have just one road game left after today’s at the Islanders, with six at home. It’s the last time the teams play this season.
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