Rask trying to stay positive through injury

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Rask trying to stay positive through injury

Tuukka Rask is trying to keep a positive outlook, but the Finnish goaltender was also being realistic on his 25th birthday.

Rask said he heard the snap, crackle and pop when he tore his groin and abdomen last weekend against the New York Islanders, and knows that hes going to need close to the entire six weeks to recover from his injury. That puts Rask and the Bruins into the playoffs when the backup goaltender will be ready for full-time duty, and that means the young goalie will be thrust into a playoff situation.

There will be no rehab games or ability to get Rask back up to game-speed at that point in the season, but the good news is that the Finnish youngster is expected to simply open and close the bench door for Tim Thomas once the postseason begins.

You try to stay positive and feed back the energy for the guys and hopefully get them on a roll, said Rask, who is most likely done for the regular season with an 11-8-3 record, a 2.05 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. I just try to stay positive and hang around the guys and treat myself to get better.

That doesnt faze Rask much at this point in the year, but he did express a healthy amount of sorrow at his inability to help give Thomas a rest at the most important time of the year. Rask was expected to share playing time with Thomas over the last 20 games of the year, but now
Thomas has played in eight straight games with a potential Sunday afternoon appearance against a red-hot Penguins team already in the holster.

There is nothing you can do about it. The groin injury is tough. It is what it is but you just have to stay positive and let it heal. You cant be thinking about that too much, said Rask. Its obviously tough and you feel for Timmy, because we were going to share a lot of games in this month I bet. We were going to get a lot of workload off each others shoulders too.

But things happen in hockey and it happened to me this time. Hopefully we can get it ready for the playoffs.

Rask said he hopes that the groin injury doesnt need surgery, and quickly shot it down after mentioning it. But one has to wonder how a significant groin injury will affect a goaltender thats never had that kind of injury in his North American hockey career.

It would be more urgent if the Bruins didnt have the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and Conn Smythe winner getting ready for another playoff run, but theres no mistaking that the Bruins now know just how valuable Rask is backing up the franchise.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Hornets at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

BOSTON -- The last time Boston saw the Charlotte Hornets last month, both teams were streaking in the wrong direction with each coming in having lost three in a row.

Both come into tonight’s game streaking, although in two very different directions.

Boston (25-15) has won 12 of its last 15 games to firmly establish itself as the third-best team in the East behind Cleveland and Toronto. Meanwhile the Hornets (20-20) are on the cusp of falling below .500 for the first time this season after losing their last four games.

Still, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen enough of this Hornets team to know that a win tonight won’t come easily.

“This is a good team,” Stevens said. “We all know Charlotte. They don’t beat themselves. We’ve had to play really well against those guys. This is going to be a tough one, as we all know.”

Figuring out why these two teams are trending in opposite directions isn’t all that complicated.

For the Celtics, their success of late has hinged heavily on their ability to make 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s problems have had a lot to do with a tough slate of road games (all four of their recent losses were on the road) and their inability to make shots which has been an issue in some form for them all season regardless of the opponent.

Look at the last four games, all of which the Hornets lost while the Celtics won three of their four games in that span.

The Hornets rank 21st in scoring with a 101.5 points per game average while the Celtics average 110.8 points which ranks 8th in the league.

Charlotte ranks dead-last in the league the last four games when it comes to shooting the ball (40.5 percent), while Boston comes in 18th at 46.0 percent.

But it’s the 3-point shot and its impact on having an effective field goal percentage, that really separates these two.

Boston has averaged a league-best 15.3 made 3-pointers in the last four games while the Hornets and their 9.8 made 3’s ranks 20th.

And as far as its impact on eFG%, Boston comes in with the eighth-best eFG% in the league (54.8 percent) while the Hornets next-to-last in the NBA with an eFG% of .462.

So what does that mean tonight?

Boston will look to continue being fueled offensively by good ball movement and attacking the rim which in turn should result in lots of good looks from 3-point range which is clearly a strength of this team.

Charlotte will search for other sources of offense besides former UConn star Kemba Walker who is on the short list of candidates for a spot on this year’s Eastern Conference all-star roster.

As was the case in Charlotte’s 102-93 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, an off-night shooting for Walker (17 points, 7-for-23 shooting with three assists) left the Hornets extremely vulnerable to defeat. Similar struggles tonight will provide a similar ending for Charlotte which would allow both teams to continue streaking along … something the Celtics wouldn’t mind at all.