Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 3-0 loss to the Blue Jackets in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:
Rask knocked out of the game: After relinquishing a three-goal lead against the Flyers on Monday night, the Bruins relished a chance to turn the page in short order thanks to Tuesday’s road matchup against the Blue Jackets. But just over a minute into regulation at Nationwide Arena, a reeling Bruins club was sucker-punched by the opposition — literally. Before the Bruins could get settle into any semblance of a groove, their netminder was taken out of the game, as Blue Jackets forward Emil Bemstrom caught Tuukka Rask in the side of the head with what appeared to be his fist while skating through Boston’s crease.
No penalty was called on the play, but Rask immediately dropped to the ice before eventually exiting the game. He didn’t return for the remainder of the game, with Jaroslav Halak pressed into service. Stating the obvious here, but losing Rask for any extended stretch is a brutal blow for the Bruins — especially with the veteran in the midst of one of his finest seasons in years (.925 save percentage). Boston faced a similar situation last season, when Rask was concussed during a home matchup against the Rangers back on Jan. 19, 2019. Fortunately for the B’s following that incident, Rask did not miss an extended stretch of game action — as the B’s bye week began right after that game against New York.
The Bruins might catch a similar break this year, as Boston will only play three more games before its bye week begins — giving Rask plenty of time to recuperate. But given the nature of these traumatic brain injuries (and Rask’s history with concussions), it can be hard to chart out a recovery timeline with a situation like this.
Boston fails to respond: Losing your starting goalie just 1:12 into a game might be a tough pill to swallow, but shame on the Bruins for not putting forth much of a response in the following 58 minutes of regulation.
Not only was there not much in terms of a physical response against Bemstrom (aside from a brief “scuffle” with Joakim Nordstrom), but Boston also failed to let the scoreboard do the talking against an injury-riddled Blue Jackets roster.
By the time the final horn sounded, the Blue Jackets skated off their home ice unscathed — and with a 3-0 victory secured against the Bruins.
Boston’s 6-5 shootout loss to the Flyers on Monday might be a miserable affair, but tonight might have been an even more disheartening result. Yes, the Blue Jackets play a stingy game and Elvis Merzļikins is in the midst of a hot stretch in net. But to get shut out in a game where your No. 1 goalie is injured by way of a cheap shot? That’s unacceptable.