After twenty minutes of play, the score in the Boston Bruins – New York Rangers matchup was 3-0.
If you didn’t know anything beyond that, hearing that one of the two starting netminders pulled himself from the game ten seconds into the second period would seem pretty normal. After all, going down by three goals on only a handful of shots could be the result of a lingering issue, and goalies have been pulled for lesser offences.
Imagine everyone’s shock, then, when the goalie who pulled himself was Tuukka Rask — and the team with three goals against was the New York Rangers.
In Henrik Lundqvist‘s first start since going out with a throat injury back in February, he’s allowed four goals on twenty-seven shots — and although he’s slowly rediscovering his game, it was certainly a slow start out of the gate for the veteran netminder.
For Rask, though, no one is entirely sure why he pulled himelf — just that barely a handful of seconds had gone by in the second period before he called the ref over, spent a brief period chatting with him, then left the game. Prior to his departure, he had made fourteen stops on fourteen shots — and although the Bruins are still holding the Rangers to only one goal against (after forty minutes, the score sat at 4-1), backup Niklas Svedberg was likely unprepared to get thrust into the game like that. On seven shots against over twenty minutes, he’s already allowed one to slip by.
There’s been no confirmation as to why Rask left the game, and there likely won’t be until the game is over — or even later — but it’s important to note that in the last two months, the Bruins have been forced to make an emergency recall on AHL Providence Bruins netminder Jeremy Smith twice due to ‘illness’ for the Finnish starter. The team has declined to elaborate on why Rask has been held out of multiple games for illness-related issues, so there’s no telling whether the mid-game self-ejection has anything to do with his previous issues or not.