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Rask not focusing on his future with Bruins in series vs. Capitals originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask played pretty well Saturday night despite the fact his team lost Game 1 of its first-round playoff series versus the Washington Capitals 3-2 in overtime.
The veteran netminder made 29 saves on 32 shots. The first goal he allowed came on an odd-man rush that was helped by B's defenseman Charlie McAvoy breaking his stick at the other end of the ice and not being able to defend well as a result. The other two goals Rask gave up came off deflections, including Nic Dowd's winner in the extra period.
The Bruins wouldn't even have seen overtime without Rask making nine saves in the third period with the score even at two goals apiece. A couple of those stops were pretty impressive.
Some of the most notable comments from Rask after the game didn't have anything to do with what happened on the ice. He was asked about his future in Boston, and the 34-year-old goalie didn't rule out anything.
“I haven’t really thought of that,” Rask said on a postgame Zoom call. “I just try to go game-by-game, series-by-series and then see what the future brings after that. There are some decisions to be made, but we’ll do that when the time is right. Right now, I’m not thinking that, I’m just thinking game-by-game, series-by series.”
Rask was pressed further on whether he feels physically able to play next season.
“I’m not going to answer that right now,” Rask explained. “I’ll talk to you after the season. You’ll find out.”
Rask's contract will expire after this season, making him an unrestricted free agent.
It's unknown what he wants to do. He's still one of the top 10 goalies in the NHL when healthy. However, injuries have impacted the Finnish netminder in 2021, and he played in only 24 of the 56 regular season games as a result.
The Bruins also saw the emergence of rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman this season, who posted a 7-3-0 record with a 1.50 goals against average and a .945 save percentage. Swayman is the top candidate to replace Rask if the veteran doesn't return for 2021-22. Even if Rask does come back, Swayman figures to be more involved in the rotation than he was this season.
Rask is just one of several important Bruins players with uncertain futures beyond this season. Top-six forwards Taylor Hall and David Krejci also have expiring contracts. Brandon Carlo (RFA) and Kevan Miller will be free agents in the offseason as well.
But for right now, the Bruins need Rask squarely focused on the tasks in front of them. The B's have a legitimate chance to make another deep playoff run, and Rask must consistently play at a high level for that to happen.