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Bruins goalie Jonas Gustavsson leaves game, hospitalized with illness

Shea Theodore’s shot sailed past Bruins goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who left with an illness after the first period.
Shea Theodore’s shot sailed past Bruins goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who left with an illness after the first period.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

When the Bruins came out for the second period of Tuesday night's game against the Anaheim Ducks, starter Jonas Gustavsson did not come out with them. Tuukka Rask replaced him in net. Gustavsson did not appear on the bench.

It was revealed later the 31-year-old Gustavsson left the game with an illness and had been taken to Mass. General Hospital.

"Bruins goaltender Jonas Gustavsson exited tonight's game due to illness," the Bruins said in a statement released during the game. "He has been transported to Mass. General Hospital for observation."

There was little information after the game, either from coach Claude Julien or from the Bruins organization, which said no further update would be forthcoming Tuesday night.

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The organization was specifically asked whether the illness was related to the heart issues that the goaltender has experienced in the past, but the Bruins declined to elaborate. Gustavsson has had at least three surgeries on his heart to treat a condition that caused an abnormal rhythm, with the third — a "minor heart ablation," according to the Maple Leafs at the time — coming in February 2011. That occurred after he was pulled from an AHL game with an elevated heartbeat.

He was diagnosed with the issue during the 2009-10 season while with the Maple Leafs.

"I have no idea. To be honest with you, I have no idea," Julien said when asked if the issue was heart-related. "He was brought to whatever hospital or whatever, I was told. I'm in the middle of a game here, so that's all I was told. Just like you guys [the media]."

Teammates also knew little after the game about Gustavsson's situation, but all expressed concern.

"I just obviously [found] out after the game," captain Zdeno Chara said. "It's never good news when one of your teammates has been hospitalized. Hopefully everything is going to be OK. I mean, it's for sure a little concern, and like I said, hopefully everything is going to be OK."

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Said defenseman Torey Krug, "It's tough. You never want to hear that and your thoughts are definitely with him and hoping he's OK. I don't know anything else. So it's a tough situation and you never want to hear that."

Julien said a backup goaltender was in place, though he declined to be specific. "They always have an extra goaltender so it could have been [goalie coach] Bob Essensa or it could have been somebody else in the building," Julien said.

The Bruins faced a similar situation last season, when Rask was removed from a game last March because of dehydration. He was replaced by Niklas Svedberg. By the end of the game, Essensa had dressed and was wearing No. 70, sitting at the end of the bench.

In that instance, Julien was able to joke about Essensa's appearance. There was no such frivolity Tuesday.

The Bruins had a good start against the Ducks, but it devolved in the second period as Anaheim scored twice to take a three-goal lead in an eventual 6-2 loss for the Bruins. Rask saw 12 shots on net in the period, making 10 saves, on his way to a 19-save evening.

"You try to be ready all the time, so it wasn't too difficult," Rask said.

Gustavsson allowed two goals on 16 shots. The first goal, scored at 7:54 of the period, resulted from a pass behind the net from Gustavsson to Zach Trotman that was intercepted by David Perron, who passed to Corey Perry for the goal.

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Rask ended up playing five periods over two nights after subbing in for Gustavsson. Rask was scratched on Saturday for an undisclosed issue that Julien said caused him not to be 100 percent.

When asked how he was doing, Rask said, "Good, really good. That was nothing much. I just wasn't 100 percent."

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.