BOSTON -- Tuukka Rask is back in Boston, but the Bruins goaltender will be the only Bruins Olympian not making the trip to Buffalo for Wednesday night’s game against the Sabres. Instead Rask will stay behind and rest while Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson -- who were absent from Tuesday’s skate at TD Garden along with Rask -- will meet the Bruins at the airport on Tuesday afternoon for the flight to Buffalo.
Claude Julien’s thinking: Chad Johnson was going to start the game against the Sabres anyway, so leaving Rask behind gives him the best chance to get back into the Eastern Time zone after spending the last two weeks in Russia.
“Bergie and Loui are meeting us at the plane. They’re going to play tomorrow [vs. Buffalo],” said Julien. “We’ve left Tuukka behind, and he’ll start his workouts tomorrow off the ice. Maybe Thursday he’ll be on the ice with us.
“Those guys handled it well. They got their rest, and like everybody else I was probably in bed at 8-8:30 yesterday and got a good night’s sleep. I feel pretty good today, and I think Loui said the same thing. But it’s going to take a while. Zdeno [Chara] and [David] Krejci] got back Thursday, and we gave them off until Monday. If they need more rest, then I’ll give them more. But the players want to play. It’s hard to take them out of the games.”
Rask memorably carried Team Finland to a Bronze Medal shutout win over Team USA, but also missed one of the games with what Claude Julien called a “flu bug” that was going around the Olympic village.
Johnson and B’s rookie Niklas Svedberg will be the two goaltenders making the trip to Buffalo, and the Swedish youngster will back up Johnson between the pipes. Johnson is 2-0 with a 1.00 goals against average and a whopping .960 save percentage in two games during the month of February, and enters this game vs. Buffalo with a whole different level of confidence after his play over the last two months.
Interestingly both Buffalo goalies, Jhonas Enroth and Ryan Miller, were backup goalies in the Olympic tournament, and should be fighting the same kind of fatigue that’s keeping Rask held back in Boston.