The Nashville Predators topped the Bruins, 2-1, Thursday night in Nashville, but the loss may have a much more significant impact than just points in the standings. In the first period, Tuukka Rask took a Roman Josi slapshot up high, and immediately went down in pain. The puck appeared to hit him in the neck or collarbone area, likely catching him in an unprotected area.
Rask left the game and did not return, with Zane McIntyre relieving him. McIntyre allowed both of the Predators goals, making 14 saves on 16 shots, but was NOT to blame for the loss.
The Bruins did not have an update on Rask’s condition following the game, solely stating that he was being evaluated during the game. If he ends up being sidelined long term, the team is in deep trouble. Rask has been the Bruins’ one consistently bright spot this season, posting an impressive 1.95 GAA and five shutouts in 34 starts. He has single-handedly won numerous games for the Bruins this year, and is the main reason they are in the mix for a playoff spot.
With Rask out, it would be a massive opportunity for McIntyre to prove himself, but it is a tough spot for a young, inexperienced goalie to be in. They could recall Anton Khudobin and roll with the two backups, or search elsewhere for a potential rental.
In addition to the potential goalie crisis, rookie Anton Blidh could potentially face supplementary discipline for his late hit on Josi late in the first period. Josi circled below his defensive goal line and made a backhand pass up the boards, and Blidh leveled him with a massive hit. The hit was deemed interference, and Blidh was assessed a five-minute major. Despite what the title of this video says, it was NOT ruled a high hit and he was NOT ejected.
Josi did not return to the game after this hit, being ruled out with an upper-body injury. The hit will obviously at least be looked at by the league, but the question is, should he be disciplined? The hit was slightly late, but did not seem so late as to warrant a suspension. It was a powerful hit that injured Josi, but the head was not the principal point of contact. As pointed out by NESN’s Billy Jaffe, Josi’s stick rises up and catches him in the head during the hit.
We will have to await further news in both situations, but all we know for now is that the standings are as tight as ever, and rival Philadelphia Flyers will be in town on Saturday. No time to be slow down, despite the adversity.
[Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images]