If there was any doubt that Claude Julien has next to no faith in his backup goalies, consider what Tuukka Rask has done in the past week.
Seven days ago, Rask made his ninth straight start for the Bruins, making 19 saves in a 4-3 win over the Penguins.
He then traveled from Boston to Los Angeles for All-Star weekend, where he participated in the skills competition and played one half of a 3-on-3 game.
After he was finished in L.A., he flew all the way back across the country to Florida and started Tuesday against the Lightning, making 18 saves in a 4-3 win over the Bolts.
He wasn’t done there. The very next night in D.C., he started against the Capitals and allowed five goals on just 22 shots in a 5-3 loss.
Oh, and he also hurt himself late in the third period.
“Yeah, I’m alright. I just popped my groin a little bit,” said Rask, per CSN New England. “But it’s nothing major.”
The Bruins had better hope Rask is okay, because there’s only Zane McIntyre, Anton Khudobin, and Malcolm Subban behind him.
Frankly, it is starting to look a bit like the 2014-15 season, when Rask played a ridiculous amount down the stretch because 1) he was playing pretty well and 2) Julien had lost faith in Niklas Svedberg.
The big difference now is that Rask isn’t playing all that well. Since the beginning of January, he’s 6-6-1 with an .874 save percentage — and one naturally wonders if fatigue has become a factor.
The good news? It’s about to get a lot less busy. The Bruins don’t play again until Saturday when they host Toronto. In fact, thanks to their upcoming bye week, they only play four games between now and Feb. 18, and all of them are at home.
That should give Rask plenty of time to rest up and get ready for the stretch drive. It starts with a tough trip to California, and there aren’t many chances to recuperate after that.
Bruins netminders this season