BOSTON - Tuukka Rask Out. David Backes In. Patrice Bergeron Game-time Decision.
Those were the headlines from Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy's morning press conference, which seemed more like a medical report at times.
Boston's bench boss confirmed that his ace netminder would sit out tonight's tilt with the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden after leaving Wednesday's practice following a collision with Anders Bjork in the crease. It was announced on Thursday afternoon that Rask has a concussion and will follow the NHL's protocols.
With Rask out, Anton Khudobin will make his second start of the season between the pipes. Zane McIntyre was recalled from Providence to be the backup.
"You don't want to see [an injury], but at the same time we have to move forward," said Khudobin. "Hopefully he's gonna get better soon and I'm excited to get playing time."
Bergeron, meanwhile, participated in the team's optional pregame skate wearing a red non-contact jersey, as he has for the past few days. Cassidy said a decision on whether or not the center will make his season debut will be made just prior to puck drop.
"Getting very closely," said Cassidy. "We'll make that decision at 7 o'clock tonight."
Backes, who like Bergeron has missed the first five games of the season, will suit up after his bout with diverticulitis put a damper on the first two weeks of the year.
"I'm ready to contribute to win with our guys at home, at a time where things haven't been great by any means," said Backes, who was officially taken off injured reserve Thursday afternoon. "But it's five games into a long season and it's a process…we're gonna have a good solid game and take care of what we can control.
"I smiled all pregame skate knowing that this was likely…Needless to say, I'm excited to get back in the lineup tonight."
With Bergeron still a question mark, Backes could slot in either on the wing or in the middle.
"I think there are a couple possibilities, from what I hear," said Backes. "I'm slotted in on the right wing as of now…I need to get my butt moving and making sure I'm keeping it simple and working hard, making plays when they're presented."
Adam McQuaid is also good to go after leaving Sunday's game in Vegas with a lower-body injury. Also slotting into the lineup will be Kenny Agostino, recalled from Providence on Wednesday. He'll take the injured Ryan Spooner's place on the first power play and play the left wing on the third line, according to Cassidy.
"He's had success at lower levels [on the power play], we're going to give him that opportunity," said Cassidy. "Kenny's gonna get a good look."
Peter Cehlarik, who was also recalled on Wednesday, was assigned back to the P-Bruins on Thursday morning.
"Cehlarik's played well," said Cassidy. "He might have been in Backes didn't feel he was ready."