BOSTON - On a night when he was aiming for the franchise record for wins, Tuukka Rask was forced to leave the Bruins' game against the Rangers midway through the first period after suffering a concussion during a nasty collision with New York forward Filip Chytil.
Rask, who was riding a seven-game points streak, appeared dazed as he lay on the ice and needed assistance from trainer Don DelNegro and his teammates to make his way to the dressing room. Jaroslav Halak entered the contest and allowed two goals and took the loss as the Bruins fell to the Rangers, 3-2, in the final game before the team's nine-day break.
"He'll go into protocol," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "The best-case scenario for those is usually the next day if he's doing well…the timing is probably the best it's ever going to be, right, if you're going to have this injury, because you do have nine days before you play again.
"But there is no good timing, having said that, because who knows how it'll play out for him. So, it's unfortunate. We've been healthy at the goaltender position. That's the one position we've avoided any serious injury.
"We've been hurt at every other position, so it looks like it's going to be one of those years where we're going to be tested at every position."
Video: BOS Recap: Marchand, Heinen score in 3-2 loss
The collision came just over a minute after the Bruins took a 1-0 lead on Danton Heinen's sixth of the year with 2:32 remaining in the first period. The Rangers responded quickly as Chytil charged up the ice and cut towards the crease.
Charlie McAvoy was there to try to break up the play and bumped Chytyl slightly as the Rangers forward beat Rask to tie the game, 1-1.
"I tried to just take away the pass, he brought it to the net and he jumps through," said McAvoy. "I had two hands on my stick. I didn't feel like I shoved him at all. Just unfortunate, it sucks you hate to see it. Obviously Tuukka's a huge part of our team, he's been playing great for us, so you don't want to see that. We'll be hoping the best for him, praying for him."
New York took a 2-1 lead 5:22 into the second on Mike Zibanejad's first of two goals as the Bruins attempted to regain their focus after Rask's injury.
"We were obviously very concerned," said Brad Marchand. "Anytime a teammate gets hit like that…he didn't look great coming off so it's nerve racking. So, I wouldn't say we got deflated, but we were all very concerned about Tuukks."
Marchand tied the game at 3:24 of the third with his 19th of the season off a nifty feed from David Pastrnak, before Zibanejad netted his second of the game at 9:05 of the final frame, sending Boston into the bye week with four losses in their last six games.
"Not the week that we wanted to have," said Marchand. "We need to be better. We had opportunities early in the game, three power plays in four minutes, and it kind of sets the tempo. We get one early there and we're feeling good about ourselves; we don't and we kind of get deflated a bit give up a couple opportunities. So we need to be a little better in that area and take advantage of situations like that."
The Bruins also went 0 for 5 on the power play, including squandering a four-minute man advantage after David Krejci drew a high stick at 6:19 of the first.
Video: Hear from Cassidy, McAvoy, Heinen, Chara and Marchy
Former Bruins blue liner and 2011 Stanley Cup champion Adam McQuaid returned to Boston for the first time since being traded to the Rangers in September. Midway through the first period, McQuaid was given a standing ovation from the TD Garden crowd after a video tribute was played on HDX.
"A lot of great memories here, nothing but great things to say about the organization and the people of Boston, so it brought me back," said McQuaid, who spent his first nine seasons with the Bruins. "I was getting ready for a faceoff, so I had to get right back into the zone there, but I appreciate that, and it was nice to see it."
As the tribute played on the big screen and the cheers rained down, McQuaid gave a couple of waves to the crowd as he prepared for the ensuing faceoff.
"It was really nice to get that ovation from the crowd," said McQuaid, who was given a four-minute roughing penalty after dropping the gloves with Chris Wagner in the third period. "I felt their passion for many years, and it kind of drove us to a lot of success here, so it didn't surprise me. It's a classy organization, and the people of Boston are my kind of people, so it's nice."