Rask’s status uncertain as Bruins host Canucks (Oct 19, 2017)
BOSTON — Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was injured in a collision with rookie teammate Anders Bjork at practice Wednesday, and his status for Boston’s home game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday was not known.
That, in fact, can be said about more than one player on Boston’s roster as coach Bruce Cassidy tries to navigate his team through the early portion of the schedule.
Bjork, crashing the net on a drill, ran into the goalie and sustained a cut on his chin. Rask had to be helped off the ice by trainers, looking unsteady on his skates.
He was not available for comment after practice, and Cassidy said Rask was going to be evaluated.
“He left early obviously,” Cassidy said. “We had a line rush drill where there was some contact around the net. He’ll get evaluated. I’ve got nothing right now; hopefully he’s fine. Until he gets checked out, I don’t know. That’s where it’s at right now.
“It was incidental contact on a hard drill. We’re trying to build in more net action and net drive. I guess that’s the spillover from it sometimes.”
Backup goalie Anton Khudobin, who won his only start of the season, Saturday night at Arizona, would start if Rask were out.
“You don’t want to see that,” Khudobin said of Rask’s injury. “I’m always ready. If I need to go tomorrow, I will.”
If Khudobin plays, he is likely to face goalie Anders Nilsson, who made his Canucks debut Tuesday night and certainly earned another start with a 3-0 shutout victory.
Jacob Markstrom has played 70 games in the Vancouver goal since the Canucks picked him up from the Florida Panthers during the 2013-14 season. He has zero shutouts in those 70 contests.
Nilsson, who signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Canucks, made 32 saves in helping Vancouver snap an early three-game losing streak to open the team’s a five-game trip.
On Thursday night, Nilsson is likely to go as Vancouver (2-2-1) opens Boston’s four-game homestand. The question remained: Which skaters would he be facing?
Patrice Bergeron, who has missed the first five games of the season with a lower-body injury, is skating. Even so, the word out of practice Wednesday gave David Backes more of a chance to play Thursday than Bergeron — although Cassidy said he wouldn’t rule Bergeron out.
Backes, battling diverticulitis, was supposed to be out longer.
“Bergeron made it through practice, progressing well,” Cassidy said Wednesday. “In the past we’ve basically ruled him out ahead of time. … We’re not ruling him out (for) tomorrow. I’m not saying he’s in.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Spooner was out of practice, and the team announced late Wednesday he will miss four to six weeks with a right groin tear.
Defenseman Adam McQuaid returned to practice Wednesday after missing the workout Tuesday.
The Bruins recalled forwards Kenny Agostino and Peter Cehlarik Wednesday, a day after sending forwards Austin Czarnik and Danton Heinen to AHL Providence.
The Bruins were given a soft opening schedule but are just 2-3-0.
Boston opened with a home win over the Nashville Predators, then was swept in a home-and-home by the Colorado Avalanche. The back end of that started a three-game trip that included a win at Arizona and a loss at Vegas.
The Bruins won both games of last year’s season series with Vancouver, with Brad Marchand scoring three goals and assisting on another in a 6-3 victory in Vancouver on March 13.