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Has Tuukka Rask played his last game with the Boston Bruins?

Tuukka Rask left the Bruins’ Game 5 loss for “maintenance” of an ongoing injury after allowing four goals in two periods (12/16 saves). It’s now win-or-go-home time for the Bruins after that Monday night’s 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders in the second round of the 2021 NHL playoffs. However now the single biggest question is: Will Tuukka Rask be in net when Boston tries to stave off elimination in Game 6 Wednesday night?

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy downplayed Rask’s exit after the game, saying his removal was simply for “maintenance that needed to be done” and that Rask “certainly could have gone back in” despite not being 100 percent.

Cassidy then said he “assumes” Rask will suit up for Game 6.

To add to more obstacles thrown into the mix, The Bruins will not have Brandon Carlo, Kevan Miller, or Curtis Lazar for game 6 all due to injuries.

“We need to go win a game,” coach Bruce Cassidy said Tuesday before boarding the team plane to Long Island. “That’s it. There’s nothing else.”

There will be no help from Carlo and Miller, both defensemen yet to be cleared to return after hits to the head. Neither will travel.

Same goes for Lazar, listed as day to day with a lower-body injury. The fourth-line center went into the boards awkwardly with Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech in the 5-4 loss in Game 5 Monday. His left knee appeared to bend backward.

Bruins starting goalie Tuukka Rask has been ineffective against the New York Islanders in the playoffs.
Boston, MA. – June 7: Otto Koivula #21 of the New York Islanders scores on Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins during the second period of Round Two, Game Five of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on June 7, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Media,News Group)


Rask’s status was ostensibly unknown Tuesday, which was a rest day for the Bruins’ regulars. He was at Warrior Ice Arena “going over stuff” with goalie coach Bob Essensa.

“He’ll get his treatment,” Cassidy said, “and we’ll find out [Wednesday] how he is, if he’s able to go or not.”

“At the end of the day, do we win if we don’t pull Tuukka?” Cassidy mused, answering a question that was not asked. “I don’t know. I have no idea. We scored two goals and we let one in in the third.

“I thought we were pushing well. Didn’t go our way. Clearly when it doesn’t, you look back on it.

“But I’m not going to second-guess it, to be honest with you. It’s a decision we felt was the right one. We did it. We’re moving on, and we’ll see who gets the net in Game 6.”

Cassidy wouldn’t elaborate on what he termed “health issues” with Rask, who is believed to have suffered a lower back strain in early March. The coach did allude to potential fatigue. The 34-year-old Rask, who has not missed a playoff start (6-3, 2.20, .925), has started five games in the last 10 days.

“First of all with Tuukka, we’re happy with his performance,” Cassidy said. “He’s been better than he was yesterday, but we weren’t good enough in front of him as well. Let’s face it: You need your goaltender to bail you out when you’re not. It didn’t happen yesterday. It has happened in other games. It happened in previous series. We’re not dissatisfied with Tuukka’s play.”

If Rask isn’t able to go for Game 6 and the Islanders close out the series then we may have very well seen Tuukka’s last game in a Bruins sweater.

UPDATE: Rask has been confirmed to start Game 6.

It still holds that if Rask and the Bruins fail to force a game 7 that this could very well be his last game with the team.

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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