Bruins’ wins record in reach for returning Rask

Matt Kalman
January 31, 2019 - 2:01 pm

It’s been 12 days since he last played, but Tuukka Rask is ready to return to the Bruins’ crease and go for the franchise’s all-time wins record Thursday.

Rask, who missed the Bruins’ first-game back after their bye week and the NHL All-Star break Tuesday, will start against the Flyers at TD Garden. Rask practiced Wednesday with the Bruins for the first time since he suffered a concussion Jan. 19 and then took the morning skate Thursday.

Coach Bruce Cassidy said there wasn’t much he had to tell Rask heading into the goalie’s return.

“Yeah, go get us a win, that’s about it,” Cassidy said. “Listen, we trust him, if he’s not ready that’s fine. He’s coming off a pretty serious hit there but when he’s ready we said he’d go back in and that’s about it.”

Rask’s next win will be career victory No. 253 and will break a tie atop the Bruins’ all-time leaderboard with Tiny Thompson.

He has a chance to set the record in front of his first North American professional coach – Scott Gordon. The former Providence Bruins coach is now behind the Flyers’ bench as interim head coach since the firing of Dave Hakstol.

Rask played in 45 games for the P-Bruins in 2007-08 and had a .905 save percentage and 2.33 goals-against average.

“I don’t think it really would’ve mattered who coached Tuukka, he was going to get to the NHL,” said Gordon, who played goal for 23 games with the Quebec Nordiques in 1989-90 and 1990-91. “You could see his talent, much like we see with Carter Hart. A lot of similarities in the way they play the game and I never doubted for a second that Tuukka was going to play in the NHL.

“He probably had his worst career as a pro playing on our team [as an AHL rookie] and just having to make the adjustment of playing over in North America. Statistically he didn’t have great stats for a team that had 55 wins. But I think there was some growth in him as far as learning to be a pro. I think he followed it up the next year and had a great year in Providence, and that carried over to the NHL. He never looked back.”

Lineup shuffling

Rask’s return won’t be the only Bruins lineup change since their 4-3 shootout loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday. Joakim Nordstrom returns from missing 10 games with a fractured fibula to replace Noel Acciari. John Moore will replace Matt Grzelcyk on the Bruins’ back end.