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Tuukka Rask Back Between the Pipes After Dealing with Migraine

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins - When Tuukka Rask went out for the start of the second period during Saturday's game against the New York Rangers at TD Garden, he assumed his usual position between the pipes and got ready for the opening faceoff.

"I just started seeing dots, went out there and saw two No. 37's taking the faceoff," said Rask. "So I'm kind of like, 'Better get out of here.'"

The netminder was dealing with a migraine, and couldn't focus.

When there was a stoppage in play at 10 seconds into the period, Rask had a quick chat with the nearest referee, skated with Zdeno Chara on his way to the bench, spoke with his bench boss, and headed down the tunnel after a quick stick tap to Niklas Svedberg, who went in and played the rest of the game.

"You know, I had some kind of migraine there," said Rask, speaking with reporters in Raleigh, N.C. on Sunday. "We thought it was dehydration at first, but then talked to doctors and all of the symptoms looked like it was a migraine."

"It lasted 25 minutes or so. I went to get my eyes checked and everything was good."

The Bruins had already stormed out to a 3-0 lead over the Rangers, and with Svedberg filling in, they went on to earn a crucial 4-2 victory. Rask saved all 14 shots he faced in the first period.

Head Coach Claude Julien assured reporters postgame on Saturday that Rask was fine and would be traveling with the team to North Carolina.

Rask was back between the pipes against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, as the Bruins earned a 2-1 win in overtime.

The netminder had to be sharp, especially in the second period when the Bruins were starting to lose their legs. He made 25 saves on 26 shots. The only goal he gave up came off a 2-on-1 rush.

He felt good in goal, and doesn't foresee migraines being an issue moving forward.

"I mean, it's something new and wonder what it was," said Rask. "When you have a family history of that, sometimes can happen."

"I've had it before a couple times and that was the worst I've had. When you can't really see, it's pretty tough for a goalie to stay out there."

The netminder's mother and brother have dealt with migraines.

"So hopefully it doesn't become an issue," said Rask, who didn't seem worried, but more aware of the situation and viewing it as something to pay attention to in the long run.

As for Julien, he was "totally confident" with the goaltender starting Sunday's game.

"There was no issues there," said Julien. "He felt great and even [on Saturday], it was a minor thing and it ended up being one of those situations where it was more prudent to keep him out. And with the score the way it was [3-0 at the time], there was no reason to try and rush him back."

"So he was fine, and it was just a little small incident I would call it."

"Just one of those situations that we played it safe," Julien added.

Though not by design, Rask did receive more rest as a result of the situation. He might have ended up playing both games of the back-to-back, so he was ready to go on Sunday, and the Bruins needed his sharp play.

In the third period against Carolina, he faced two 2-on-1 situations that could have pushed the home team over the edge. He stopped a bid from Jeff Skinner, and then Alexander Semin missed hitting Jordan Staal with a return pass on an odd-man rush later in the period.

The Bruins held on and earned the two points off David Pastrnak's overtime winner. Ryan Spooner had given them an early 1-0 lead, before Nathan Gerbe tied it up 1-1 with a goal late in the second period.

Finishing up a set of three games in four days and their 16th back-to-back set of the season, the Bruins pushed through.

"We dug deep," said Rask. "I think we looked a little tired there after the first period, offensively couldn't really get anything going and kind of stopped skating a little bit, but then again, wasn't awful defensively. We hung in there and then at the end of the day, we got the win, which is huge for us."

With the win, the Bruins pushed ahead of the Ottawa Senators, who dropped a 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers in regulation on Sunday.

"Right now, we're just focused on one game at a time and trying to win each one of those," said Rask. "It's not going to be easy obviously, and we're not going to play perfect hockey every night, but good that we showed character and got the win."

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