Rask expected to play for Bruins in Game 3 against Islanders

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Tuukka Rask should be available to play for the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Second Round against the New York Islanders, but the goalie is dealing with some injuries, coach Bruce Cassidy said.

“They’re nagging. Not unique to just Tuukka for that position,” Cassidy said Tuesday. “… And right now, I don’t believe there’s any reason to think that he won’t be ready to go Thursday. So that’s where we’re at with Tuukka.”

Rask appeared to be moving gingerly, especially in the second period, in a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 2 on Monday, when he made 35 saves.

The best-of-7 series is tied. Game 3 is at New York on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS).

Rask missed significant time because of injuries this season. After holding his back at the end of a game against the New Jersey Devils on March 7, he missed six games. He returned for one period against the Islanders on March 25, then missed another 11 games.

In his final nine starts of the regular season, Rask was 7-1-0 with a 2.07 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. In seven starts in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he is 5-2 with a 2.06 GAA and .930 save percentage.

“Today’s an off day for everybody, get away from the rink,” Cassidy said. “If you need treatment, get in. I’ll have a better update on if there’s going to be a potential issue down the road. But right now, [Rask will] go in and get his treatment. Be ready to go tomorrow, I assume, unless I hear differently.”

Cassidy was mildly critical of Rask’s performance in Game 2, saying, “I just didn’t think he tracked pucks as well tonight.”

The Bruins have two options should Rask not be able to play, with rookie Jeremy Swayman pulling ahead of veteran Jaroslav Halak down the stretch in the regular season. Swayman made his NHL debut April 6 and was 7-3-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .945 save percentage. Halak, who missed time with COVID-19 in April, was 9-6-4 with a 2.53 GAA and .905 save percentage.

“As for [Rask’s] injury, I don’t believe there will be anything to worry about,” Cassidy said. “If there is, then obviously we’ll have to sort through that.”

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