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Rask foresees rare Bruins timeshare with Halak in playoffs

Goalie who has played almost every postseason minute realizes likely won't be case

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Tuukka Rask has started every game and played almost every second for the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since becoming their starting goalie.

But the veteran of 11 full NHL seasons said he doesn't expect that to be the case this time.

"I'd be surprised if you see goalies play every minute of every game during these playoffs because the situation is so different," Rask said Friday. "But I'm looking forward to it. You never know, but I guess we'll see what happens. We've had the luxury of having a couple good goalies the last few seasons, so I feel like we're in a good spot."

Jaroslav Halak is Rask's backup. Rask started 41 games this season and was 26-8-6 with an NHL-best 2.12 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage, which was second to Anton Khudobin of the Dallas Stars (.930). Halak started 29 games and was 18-6-6 with a 2.39 GAA and .919 save percentage.

The Bruins goalies won the William Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals (167; 2.39 per game) in the NHL this season.

Rask started seven of Boston's last 10 games before the NHL season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. He was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, given to the goalie voted best in the NHL.

"The way I look at it, all bets are off now because everybody has been off for four months," Rask said. "It's not the same situation that it was in March, April, or it would have been, or it could have been. Everybody is starting from scratch and trying to recapture the feeling you had as a team when the quarantine period started. But it's going to be tough."

Boston (44-14-12, .714 points percentage) will play the Tampa Bay Lightning (43-21-6, .657), Washington Capitals (41-20-8, .652) and Philadelphia Flyers (41-21-7, .645) in a round-robin at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, to determine seeding for the playoffs. The Bruins' first game is against the Flyers on Aug. 2. 

"I try to go out there every day and play my best, and now we're going to have one, two, three games before the playoffs start," Rask said. "So hopefully you can get that good feeling back with yourself and you're ready to start playoffs. It's not going to be easy, but it's not going to be easy for anybody."

Video: Boston Bruins Highlight Reel

The Bruins made the playoffs 11 times since 2003-04 and have used only one goalie each time but once, in 2018, when Khudobin, then playing for Boston, replaced Rask in the second period of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The last time Boston had two goalies start in the same postseason was in 2002-03. Jeff Hackett started three games and Steve Shields started two in a five-game loss to the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Rask started every game and played every minute in 2009-10, then was the backup to Tim Thomas when he did the same the next two seasons, including a Stanley Cup championship in 2011.

Rask took over in 2012-13 and has started every playoff game in 11 series since, playing 99.5 percent of the time. He was not on the ice when Khudobin played 26:37 in relief after Rask was pulled against the Maple Leafs.

In his six postseasons, Rask has played 5,595:42. He is 50-39 with a 2.19 GAA and .927 save percentage in 89 NHL playoff games, all starts. That includes Stanley Cup Final losses to the Chicago Blackhawks (2013) and St. Louis Blues (last season)

"This city is known for winning championships and your success is measured by winning championships, and I've gotten to the Finals with the team twice as a playing goalie -- didn't win -- but I think it's still a great accomplishment to reach that point, to go to the Finals," the 33-year-old told NBC Sports Boston in May. "Obviously, it would be nice to be known as a champion in those years, but it didn't happen. We just have to live with that. I think I've played a good career so far and hopefully there's some more years left and even maybe a championship in the future."

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