BROOKLYN, NY - Tuukka Rask is day to day, as the Bruins get set to play the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on Saturday night.
Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. EST (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Rask did not travel with the team to Brooklyn. He was given a maintenance day on Friday and did not skate in the team's practice at Warrior Ice Arena before they traveled to New York.
"He's day to day. Anton will be in tonight," Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said on Saturday morning. "We're off [on Sunday], a scheduled day off, so we'll see where he's at Monday morning."
On Friday, Rask had his situation checked out by the training staff.
"He came in [to the rink on Friday], had some discomfort, lower body, so he had some work done and didn't feel that he'd be ready to go today," Cassidy said. "We had talked about getting Anton in anyway. That was part of it. Those plans are always subject to change, as you know, so there's no real surprise in that area [in terms of Khudobin getting in]."
"Obviously we're monitoring him closely," Cassidy said of Rask. "We expect him to be ready to practice Monday."
Cassidy was asked if the situation was related to a moment in Thursday night's game, when Rask skated over the bench. That was due to a skate blade equipment issue, and was not related to the injury.
Khudobin last saw time between the pipes in relief of Rask on March 16 in Edmonton. Prior to that appearance, he posted four straight wins in goal.
"We were considering Anton for a game this week - I think we discussed that last Monday before the Toronto game, that he'll play one game this week; it just happens that it's tonight," said Cassidy.
Khudobin is hoping to draw on his previous performances, and get the team a big win in an important game.
"I'm just taking it day by day," said Khudobin. "Get ready for this game, and see what's going on Monday, so I'm not thinking too far ahead."
"It's always great to play and it's a really important game, too, so it's that time of the year that every point is really important, so it's pretty fun," he said.
Zane McIntyre was recalled from Providence to serve as backup for the game. McIntyre has appeared in eight games with Boston this season. At the AHL level, he's compiled a 16-4-1 record with the P-Bruins.
Time to Bounce Back
The Bruins know it's time to put their frustrations aside, and simply find a way to get a win.
There's no better opportunity to do that than on Saturday night, against a team that just jumped them in the standings. The Islanders picked up a huge 4-3 shootout win over Pittsburgh on Friday night to gain a slight edge, and knock the Bruins out of a Wild Card playoff spot.
Both the Bruins and Islanders are tied at 82 points heading into Saturday's matchup, but the Islanders have a game in hand.
"It doesn't get better than that," said Captain Zdeno Chara. "It's that time of the year that every game, every point means so much, especially when you play the teams that are in the same situation as your team, so I think it's just so important that everybody really comes to the game and is ready from the first drop of the puck, and does a good job for as long as it takes."
The Black & Gold aren't so focused on the four-game losing streak that they're trying to snap out of - they're focused on the game at hand, and getting the important two points.
"We need to focus on this game being two points, no matter who we play… it's two points," said Cassidy. "We need it as much, if not more, than anybody, and that's the message we're giving to our guys, and that's as simple as we can make it. I don't think we should get ahead of ourselves."
"We've kept that approach - we're not looking back, we're not looking too far forward, we're trying to stay in the moment, and the moment right now is we need to win a hockey game," said Cassidy. "We need to get two points and get feeling better about ourselves again."
Brad Marchand is on board.
"It's about doing the job and bearing down, so we have to go all in tonight and have a big game," he said after the team's optional pregame skate on Saturday. "Hopefully the guys understand how important of a game it is and that we have a big night."
"We have a great mood in here this morning, everyone's excited and pretty light and there's no tense feel," said Marchand. "So it's a great mood and again, we're all excited for tonight and hopefully we get a bounce-back game."
Projected Lineup vs. New York Islanders March 24
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Backes
Drew Stafford - David Krejci - David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano - Ryan Spooner - Jimmy Hayes
Dominic Moore - Riley Nash - Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Colin Miller - Kevan Miller
Starting Goalie: Anton Khudobin // Backup: Zane McIntyre
Projected Scratches: Joe Morrow, John-Michael Liles
On Family Leave: Matt Beleskey
Injured: Tim Schaller (lower body, has missed seven games)