No shortage of storylines at play tonight in Boston.
The B’s have just three games left in their regular season. They’re fighting for their playoff lives. And with crucial points on the line, they’ll start Tuukka Rask when they host the ‘Canes at TD Garden.
Rask, of course, is coming off a disastrous outing in Chicago, in which he was hooked after allowing four goals on 22 shots.
That, of course, came after a leaky performance in St. Louis, in which he got the win — but still allowed five goals on 30 shots.
All those goals against prompted a stinging criticism by Hockey Night in Canada personality and ex-B’s coach Don Cherry, who on Monday tweeted out that Rask “can’t stop a beach ball.”
While the beach ball remark was a bit much, this definitely hasn’t been a banner year from the Finnish netminder. Rask’s .915 save percentage and 2.60 GAA are well off his career averages (.924 and 2.25, respectively), but that’s a byproduct of a depleted Boston blueline, one that’s been whittled down over the last few years and is currently Dennis Seidenberg and Kevan Miller.
Rask will need to get better, in a hurry, if Boston wants to get back into the postseason after missing a year ago. Defensive issues or no, he’s posted three straight games with ugly save percentages (.867 versus New Jersey, .833 versus St. Louis, .818 versus Chicago) and can’t afford a fourth against the ‘Canes.
For Carolina, Cam Ward starts in goal.
— Neither the Bolts nor the Rangers had morning skates (both played last night), so no word on who’ll be in goal.
— No word on a Kings starter in Calgary yet, but Joni Ortio, fresh off a shutout against Edmonton, is in goal for the Flames.