Claude Julien should have started Chad Johnson against the New Jersey Devils. Tuukka Rask was coming of a stellar performance in which the Boston Bruins played okay at best in front of him. Let’s get one thing straight — this is a one-time only thing. I am not saying the Bruins should be playing Johnson over Rask on a regular basis at all.
The Bruins had played three games in four nights and clearly looked beat up and tired. I would have played Johnson and treated the game against the Devils as a throwaway. The Devils are bottom-feeders and they already took more valuable points against the Buffalo Sabres and the San Jose Sharks.
There was no need to go back to Rask on just one day’s rest. It will be interesting to see how Julien handles this in the future but for now, Rask definitely could have used the added rest. He wasn’t nearly as sharp as he had been in past appearances, especially with rebound control. The Devils scored their first goal off a bad rebound and followed it up with another goal that wasn’t very Rask-like.
The Bruins are going to need to decide when Rask is really needed and when he’s not. Workhorse or not, it doesn’t make sense to burn him out in the first month of the season.
It’s like taking a stud horse and running him in 300 races before the Kentucky Derby. If he is Boston’s franchise goalie, the Bruins need to take care of him. They need eight years out of him, not three points against a weak team.