TORONTO -- With backup goaltender Tuukka Rask out four-to-six weeks with a groin/abdomen strain, a position of strength for the Boston Bruins has turned into a concern. Rask had been expected to see significant action in the final month of the regular season in order to keep starter Tim Thomas fresh for the playoffs.
With the Bruins scheduled to play 18 games in the next 33 days, the plan to lighten the load on Thomas is in jeopardy -- especially considering the Bruins have struggled recently and sit just three points ahead of Ottawa in the Northeast Division standings. General manager Peter Chiarelli signed veteran Marty Turco to a one-year deal Monday to fill the void; Turco must clear waivers Wednesday before officially joining the Bruins.
"It's an unfortunate injury at a real bad time of year, but we hope to have Turco with us by tomorrow," coach Claude Julien said. "He'll give us that experience and the type of backup goaltender that we need to keep moving forward down the stretch."
After a disappointing season with the Blackhawks in 2010-11, when he went 11-11-3 with a 3.02 goals-against average and .897 save percentage, Turco did not sign with an NHL team leading into this season. He has stayed sharp by playing in the Spengler Cup for Team Canada, and more recently a 10-game run with EC Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian First Division.
Julien is optimistic about the potential addition of Turco.
"When you're in that position where you're past the trade deadline, you've got to find solutions," Julien said. "There's no doubt if Turco comes to us tomorrow it will be a great solution to a tough situation."
Julien was guarded when asked about how many games he would like to see Thomas play in the coming month.
"I go day by day, I've always said that. We'll see how everything turns out, we don't know whether Marty is going to be with us, so for me to answer that, I can't."
Thomas will start tonight against the Maple Leafs in Toronto, with Michel Hutchinson called up from Providence to back him up.
And if all goes well for the Bruins, they will add an experienced backup to the fold on Wednesday.
Here are tonight's projected lines:
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Tyler Seguin
Brian Rolston - Patrice Bergeron - Brad Marchand
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Jordan Caron
Lane MacDermid - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Greg Zanon - Adam McQuaid