No lineup changes expected for Bruins, Flyers

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No lineup changes expected for Bruins, Flyers

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com
PHILADELPHIA Its round two of an anticipated seven round fight between the Bruins and the Flyers, and there doesnt appear to be much in the way of changes for either side.The Bruins wont have any changes on their end, and only Mark Recchi was missing from the morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center as he took a well-deserved veteran exception as a 43-year-old playing deep into the postseason. Nathan Horton was back on the ice for the Bruins after missing yesterday with a broken skate, and Tim Thomas will be in goal for a Bs team simply worrying about their own business. "I dont think theres any secret to how hard this game is gonna be, and how tough this series is going to be, Andrew Ference said. We just have to take care of our own backyard first. It doesnt matter what system youre running if you dont bring energy and work with you as a team. Thats something we have to make sure we do.The Flyers were missing Chris Pronger and Jeff Carter from the ice at morning skate, but sources told CSNPhilly.coms Sarah Baicker that Pronger would play despite missing the last handful of minutes from Game 1 and walking up the runway to the dressing room with a couple of minutes left in the game.Brian Boucher will get the start between the pipes after getting yanked during the second period of Game One, and the Flyers goaltending carousel continues. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said it was a chance for the entire team -- Boucher included -- to wipe away the stain of a wretched Game One. "Brian will go back in net today," said Laviolette. "Today for me is a game where we all have to go back in there and try and right some wrongs. Everybody gets an opportunity and he deserves it."It sure looks like a fatal flaw in the series with the journeymen Boucher carrying a .783 save percentage into Game 2, but Claude Julien wasnt going to look at that as something the Bs could count on.They pulled goalies in the last round and they still managed to win their series, Julien said. We know thats something that has happened with this team since the first round, and its something that happened to them last year when they got to the Finals. Were not hanging our hat on that. Were hanging our hat on how were going to handle our own situation, and thats where were at right now. Andrew Ference had the line of the day when talking about the emails and texts he was sending out last night and this morning upon hearing about the death of Osama Bin Laden. Ference has befriended a group of US Army Rangers in Massachusetts that are also Bruins fans, and one had texted the Bs defenseman over the last couple of weeks that they were going out hunting for bad guys. It was the CIA and the Navy Seals that eventually took out Bin Laden, but Ference said he could sense the relief in his friends after theyd spent many sleepless nights hunting after the evil mastermind behind the 911 attacks.Ference also said he asked a few friends that were in contact with Barack Obama to put in a request for the Bruins: "I asked one of my buddies to send an email to Obama because I hear he's good at finding things, said Ference with a smile on his face. Hopefully he can help us find a power play goal."
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Tuesday, March 28: 1,000 games for Sabres' Gionta

Tuesday, March 28: 1,000 games for Sabres' Gionta

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while forgetting that Nancy Kerrigan is on Dancing with the Stars.  

*Here’s the rundown on Brian Gionta celebrating his 1000th NHL game played with the Sabres on Monday night.

*Congrats to good guy Chad Johnson, who was appropriately given the “Good Guy Award” by the Calgary Flames media this week.

*Brock Boeser showed his abilities in a fantastic NHL debut after leaving the college ranks for the Canucks.

*I hope the fancy stats crowd is listening to this: The NHL playoff forecast is raining on the Corsi and fancy stats parade.

*Hope that Eddie Lack is okay after he had to be taken off the ice in a stretcher following a collision at the end of Carolina’s game.

*ESPN’s hockey crew breaks down some expansion mock drafts and have either Adam McQuaid, Jimmy Hayes or Malcolm Subban headed to the Vegas Golden Knights.

*The Benn brothers are gearing up for their first match-up against each other with the Canadiens and Stars set to meet.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jen Neale nails a Philly columnist for a hot take on USA Hockey and says the column illustrates just how much a change is needed there.

*The Winnipeg Jets have officially been eliminated from the playoffs, so now the Colorado Avalanche don’t have to feel so bad about themselves.

*For something completely different: One thing I’ve never wondered is what Tony Robbins thinks about politics.


 

'Healthy' Rask ready to go with a lot to prove

'Healthy' Rask ready to go with a lot to prove

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Tuukka Rask went through morning skate Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena and proclaimed himself “healthy” to start against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden after sitting out Saturday with a lower body injury.

So, Rask will play his 60th game of the season tonight and the Bruins will hope that a dominating performance will douse some of the brush fire that’s cropped up around the Black and Gold’s goaltending situation. 

After Boston’s No. 1 goaltender coughed up five goals in a rough loss to Tampa and then sat out the must-win against the Islanders on Saturday night, questions about Rask’s big-game reliability are absolutely there after he also sat out last season’s pivotal finale against the Ottawa Senators.

Still, Rask said he hasn’t paid attention to the media scrutiny and is instead looking forward to locking up against fellow Finn Pekka Rinne of the Preds.

“I haven’t listened to the [media scrutiny], but I’m sure they’ve been very nice to me,” said Rask. “I don’t listen. I don’t read it. Doesn’t affect me. You know where you stand, and how good you play and when you don’t play good. That’s all you need. You don’t need to listen to the outside voices because it’s just going to distract you. People have opinions and they can say whatever they want.

“This is what we play for, right? It’s fun. It’s going to come down to the wire again and it’s going to be another battle tonight. I don’t even know how many games I’ve played. I feel good. I think I’ve said all throughout the year there’s going to be ups and downs, and you just try to stay even-keeled. It’s something that you learn not getting too high or too low, and just win as many games as you can.”

The bottom line with Rask is that there are major question marks about his standing as a No. 1 goaltender that he needs to address in these final seven games, media scrutiny or no media scrutiny. A No. 1 goalie worth $7 million per season can hold up with a 60-plus game workload and not fade down the stretch while in need of mental and physical breaks. 

The slender Rask has shown signs of slippage in his performance when the workload is heavy, and coach Bruce Cassidy admitted as much on Tuesday while not guaranteeing that his No. 1 will be able to play in six of the final seven games down the stretch.

“We’re trying to write our own story this year. I know how the last few years have ended, and we’d like a different ending,” said Cassidy. “I think this group should be afforded that right to write their own stories, and we’ll see how it plays out. Obviously last week did not play out well for us and we heard about it, and that’s part of the business.

“Saturday, hopefully we turned a corner, but we won’t know that until we get going forward here. I’m asking [Tuukka] to play well tonight, and I’m asking the players in front of him to play well tonight. The workload for Tuukka has to be monitored, and whether the whole world agrees with it or not, that’s the situation. I think the data backs up that he’s better with ‘X’ amount of rest and that’s just the way it is. It’s an inexact science and we’re trying to do a better job with that. The second half we’ve really tried to monitor it and last week was a bit of an exception. At crunch time things change a little bit, and that’s what we’re trying to balance.”

In an ideal world, a hockey team scratching and clawing for the Stanley Cup playoffs wouldn’t have to so closely monitor whether a goaltender is about to break down because he’s pushing 60 games in a season, especially when he’d enjoyed a five-day bye just a month earlier.

There are also questions about Rask’s reliability after sitting out last weekend, whether it was by his choice, the team’s choice or a mutually agreed upon decision after his lower body discomfort cropped up. A No. 1 goalie is no longer worthy of that lofty mantle when a team can’t rely on big-game performances from him, or even if he'll be available, once the pressure is on in the final weeks of the season.

So, there are plenty of questions to answer for Rask down the stretch here and they may go a long way toward determining his long-range future with an organization that invested heavily in him a few years ago. Those answers begin on Tuesday night against the Predators and it certainly feels like it will be game-to-game with him for final seven contests of the regular season.