Tuukka Rask was pulled in favor of Chad Johnson Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks. Claude Julien recognized the situation and decided to give Rask some much needed time off. I have been critical of Julien and the way he has handled Rask this season. I’ve said since the beginning of the flu epidemic on this road trip that Rask needed rest, and clearly Chad Johnson should have started against the Canucks.
There was no reason that Johnson shouldn’t have started. It was a Western Conference team on the tail end of a 5200-mile road trip. The Bruins had already taken points from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames. If there was a game to throw away this season it was the game against the Canucks.
Julien didn’t completely listen to me. Rask started the game but didn’t finish it after a dismal start to the contest. He allowed one of the worst goals in his career in the first period on a shot that was taken just outside the blue line. The puck deflected off the defenseman’s stick and nose-dived between Rask’s legs. In all fairness the puck started at his chest, but you could tell that Rask wasn’t completely back to being one hundred percent healthy. Julien ended up pulling Rask for Johnson. The damage on the scoreboard had already been done, but any bit of extra rest Rask received is going to be beneficial for him going forward. The flu beats up your body. Tuukka Rask is the most important player on the Bruins and he needs to be healthy.