Rask would not disclose the nature of his ailments after the Bruins lost 6-2 to the Islanders in Game 6 on Wednesday night, which knocked Boston out of the playoffs. “I don’t think that needs to be the headline now,” said the keeper, who stopped 23 of 27 shots in the loss.
Rask was pulled out Monday night after two spells in Boston’s Game 5 loss, with coach Bruce Cassidy saying “some maintenance needed to be done” and that Rask “wasn’t himself”.
Cassidy, whose team has now lost in Round 2 in consecutive seasons, said on Wednesday that Rask was dealing with an injury he sustained earlier this season, but that Rask said he was healthy enough to play in Game 6.
“He was not 100%. I cannot answer whether he was 95% or 92%. We talk to him daily. He is ready to go. We gave him time to heal halfway through the year, and we would give him the given time to heal in the play-offs when needed. He’s our starting goalkeeper, he told us he was ready to go, and that’s that,” said the coach.
“There may be surgery. Maybe not,” Cassidy added. “That will be his decision and the decision of the medical staff.”
Cassidy acknowledged that Rask was not playing his strongest game on Wednesday night.
“Of course he could have been better. As I mentioned before, there are some rebounds that we could have cleared or controlled better. But we mishandled some pucks and put them in bad places too,” he said.
The Bruins were without injured defenders Brandon Carlos and Kevan Miller, two veterans sorely missed as Boston struggled to handle the Islanders’ forecheck. The Islanders’ first four goals came on Bruin’s defensive miscues.
The Bruins tied the game with a power play goal from Brad Marchand at 17:36 of the first period, taking advantage of two consecutive penalties against the islanders. Those calls were notable because Boston coach Bruce Cassidy was fined $25,000 for alleging that Game 5 officials had shown favoritism toward New York.
“I think they’re selling a story there that’s more like the New York Saints, not the New York Islanders,” Cassidy said after Game 5. “They just have to be better than that. Call the game as you see it. Stop listening to these outside influences and do it right.”
Fans of the islanders took to the rant, chanting “New York Saints” during their penalty kills. Some fans wore halos to the game, while others wore a bishop’s hat with an Islanders logo on it.
It was Nelson again at 12:39 of second on another Boston foul, as a defender Mike Reilly messed up a pass from Rask and the islanders repented. Rask called the pass “a grenade” that exploded in a turnover.
Kyle Palmieric made it 4-1 on another Grzelcyk turnover, this time straight for Rask.
“I certainly could have made a few more saves. I didn’t do it today. The season ended. I fought. I tried. I just came up short,” said Rask.
Marchand made it 4-2 with a power-play goal in the third inning. The Islanders scored two empty net goals for the final margin.
“We’re all getting older. It won’t last forever. It’s definitely going to close at some point,” Rask said.
Both Krejci and Rask are unrestricted free players this season. It is possible that Rask, 34, played his last game with the Bruins. Boston will also have to make a decision on its trade deadline takeover Taylor Hall, a winger and former league MVP who wrestled with the Islanders.
‘We will see. I have no thoughts now,’ Rask said. “It is a heavy loss. We will have our exit meetings and start planning for the future.”