By Joe Haggerty
Tuukka Rask gets his first action of the 201112 season, and his first NHL start since the April 10 regular season finale last year against the New Jersey Devils.
The 23-year-old netminder looked sharp during the preseason in a pair of games, and has watched patiently through the first two games of the season as Tim Thomas and the Bruins split games with the Flyers and Lightning. Its a big season for Rask, who is expected to play more than his 29 games last season while giving Thomas some needed rest during the regular season.
He played well in the preseason and weve always liked him, said Claude Julien. Its just a matter of making sure hes not on the sidelines too long. Weve got a busy week again this week, so its giving them both a chance to play and share the workload.
No other lineup changes for the Bruins against the lowly Colorado Avalanche, which means that Benoit Pouliot will again man the left the left wing on the third line with Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly.
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After sitting out the last month with a lower body injury, Bruins fourth liner Noel Acciari has been assigned to Providence presumably to get up to speed after missing a considerable length of time. It also means that Acciari has likely been cleared medically to play after appearing in B's practice over the last few days after missing the last 14 games.
The 24-year-old former Providence College standout has appeared in 12 games with the Bruins this season after breaking camp with the team, and recorded two assists for two points with four penalty minutes and a plus-one rating before suffering a lower body injury.
By all accounts Acciari was a good energy player on a surprisingly good fourth line to start the season, wasn’t afraid to throw around his body for impactful hits and was having plenty of success aggravating opponents into losing their cool and taking penalties. Fellow rookie forward Anton Blidh has stepped in and played a similar role on the fourth line over the last couple of games for the Black and Gold, so that gives the Bruins plenty of time to get Acciari back up to speed at the AHL level without their fourth line’s level of play dropping in the meantime.
The Acciari demotion to Providence does mean that the Bruins head into Washington with 12 forwards, so it should again be Blidh, Dominic Moore and Jimmy Hayes as the fourth line barring any last minute wrinkles from Claude Julien.