Rask (abdomingroin) could be ready for playoffs

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Rask (abdomingroin) could be ready for playoffs

While Marty Turco and Anton Khudobin have done an admirable job of filling in for Tuukka Rask over the last six weeks, it looks like Bostons backup goaltender might be ready for the playoffs.

Rask strained his groin and abdomen making a save against the New York Islanders back on March 3, and he has missed slightly more than five weeks with an injury expected to keep him out 4-6 weeks. Rask was on the ice skating on his own earlier this week while testing out the healing groin muscles, and Peter Chiarelli indicated the Finnish netminder might be able to serve as Tim Thomas backup Thursday night against the Washington Capitals.

Id characterize Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid as day-to-day in their respective injuries. I think Tuukkas is maybe a little bit more than day-to-day. Hes been pretty aggressive with his rehab, said Chiarelli. I dont have my calendar in front of me but I think he might be bang on with a six-week rehab. Well see how he goes the next couple of days, but we certainly have a capable backup in Anton Khudobin if Rask cant play.

If Rask cant go then it will be Khudobin, who made 44 saves in his first win as a member of the Bruins against the Senators, serving as the backup goaltender. Chiarelli confirmed that Turco will likely stick around the Bruins for the first couple of games of the playoffs, but then will be returning home rather than traveling with the Bruins during their playoff run.

Turco wasnt eligible for playoff duty after signing with the Bruins following the NHL trade deadline, and might even do some analyst work with the NHL Network once his commitment with the Bruins has finished.

Ive discussed it with Marty . . . hes got a couple of things he has to do. He wont be practicing with the team, said Chiarelli. I think hes going to be around until maybe the tail end of the week and then hes going to go home.

Some of this is obviously moot because Thomas is expected to be the guy for every minute of Bostons playoff run, but the ThomasRask tandem may be reunited for the beginning of the postseason.

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

CLEVELAND – Gone but definitely not forgotten.

Isaiah Thomas, out for the rest of the playoffs with a right hip injury, wasn’t in the Q Arena physically, but his presence – and his face via FaceTime – were inside the locker room in the initial moments following their 111-108 Game 3 win over Cleveland.

“We called him right after the game,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “He got to celebrate with us a little bit. It’s sad that he’s not here. We wish he was here with us. We just want him to get better.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens added, “I didn’t even realize that had happened until later on. one of my first text messages was from Isaiah.  He’s hurting not being out there but he’s completely invested, for sure.”

He initially suffered the injury on March 15 at Minnesota, but re-aggravated it in the first half of Boston’s Game 2 loss to the Cavs. Less than 24 hours later, Thomas was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.

Instead of Thomas being the rock of sorts that the Celtics lean on with his play, he has become their rallying cry for the remainder of the playoffs.

“All we can do is play hard for him,” Bradley said. “He was excited with the way we played. We’re a family. Other guys got an opportunity to step up for us. Marcus (Smart) had a big game for us. It could be somebody else next game.”

Smart led the Celtics with a career-high 27 points which included a career-best seven 3’s going down.

And most important, the Celtics avoided going down 3-0 which would have all but sealed their fate in this series considering no team in league history has ever come back for a 3-0 series deficit.

Doing so without Thomas, the Celtics’ leading scorer and the top regular season scorer in the Eastern Conference, made the win all that more impressive for Boston.

“It meant a lot,” Horford said. “We know, Isaiah gives us so much and gave us so much this year. For him, we definitely wanted to come out and fight for him and our season and our team. It felt good to keep believing despite being down big. Just felt good to win the game and bring life back to our locker room. Because going down 3-0, that’s a death sentence pretty much. This was big.”

Not only to the Celtics players but also to Thomas who also texted head coach Brad Stevens full of excitement following Boston’s surprising win.

“He was excited,” Horford recalled. “He was ecstatic. I know he wishes he was here being part of it. We just need to keep doing it for him and our group and doing the best we can.”