BOSTON – Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has played in 10 of the last 11 games (5-3-0) and he’s getting the start again tonight against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.
Bruins coach Claude Julien has leaned on the rookie netminder a lot of late, and Rask has responded with a 9-4-2 record in his last 15 decisions. He posted his fifth shutout of the season on Tuesday at New Jersey in a 1-0 overtime win.
* Andrew Ference update: The Bruins defenseman remains out of the lineup with a groin/hernia injury, but he is getting a little better, according to Julien. Earlier in the week, the Bruins felt it best to shut down Ference for the time being in order to help him heal in case he’s needed for the remainder of the season or the playoffs.
“He will get back to being able to play again at some point,” said Julien. “We really don’t know, nobody knows how long it is going to take. It is, as you know, a hernia and it depends on how quickly the swelling and all that stuff gets worked out.”
Ference has missed a total of 26 games, including tonight, with the injury. The 31-year-old blueliner recently signed a three-year extension worth $6.75 million and will need surgery during the offseason.
He could play if the Bruins need him in an emergency situation, but the team doesn’t want to risk it at this point.
“There is a guarantee that he will be back and he’ll be OK,” said Julien. “Now, how long he will last, that’s a gamble. When I say a gamble, there’s no health risk to it, but it is a gamble we are willing to take. If one of our defensemen goes down, at least there’s someone with experience to step in.”
* Marc Savard update: The Bruins forward suffered a Grade 2 concussion against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 7 and is recovering slowly. He spoke publicly for the first time last Saturday at the Garden and said he’s still feeling the lingering effects of Matt Cooke’s elbow to the head. As of this morning, Savard is unable to participate in any physical activities.
“Those symptoms have to clear first,” said Julien. “He hasn’t cleared and that’s why we said, ‘Is he going to be back this year?’ Regular season, no. After that, it will depend. The thing is, those kinds of things could change day to day. If he starts feeling better in a couple of days, now we’re able to answer questions and say he’s on the right track but he hasn’t stepped over that hurdle, yet.”
* Playoff tickets: The Bruins announced Thursday that tickets for the team’s first two home postseason games of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs will go on sale at 11 a.m. on April 7. Tickets will be available for purchase at the TD Garden box office, online at www.bostonbruins.com or via Ticketmaster.