The Boston Bruins are facing a near must-win situation against the New York Islanders this evening, but they’ll be missing a key part of their team.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask is out with a lower-body injury, according to the team’s Twitter account. Anton Khudobin will get the start instead. We reported earlier today that the Bruins have recalled Zane McIntyre on an emergency basis to back up Khudobin.
It’s a very important game for the Bruins; they’re currently sitting outside the playoffs with 82 points. The Islanders also have 82 points, but have a game in hand on Boston. The Bruins were in the third divisional playoff spot last weekend, but have lost four in a row while the Maple Leafs have won three straight to pass them. Toronto is now three points ahead of Boston and comfortably in the third spot in the Atlantic Division.
This isn’t the first time Rask has missed an important game for his team. Last season, he caught a 24-hour flu bug and was out for the Bruins’ final game of the season, a must-win game against the Senators. Backup Jonas Gustavsson started instead; the Bruins lost 6-1 and missed the playoffs. Back in the Sochi Olympics, Rask missed Finland’s semi-final game versus Sweden with another stomach flu. The Swedes beat them, and Rask returned for the Bronze Medal Game, which he won.