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Bruins lose Tuukka Rask, game to Rangers

The Rangers’ Filip Chytil barrels into Tuukka Rask, delivering a concussion to the Bruins goalie.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The Bruins escaped this town, or at least hoped to, after Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers at the TD Garden. With a nine-day break between games, many wanted to ditch snow-blanketed Boston for tropical sunshine.

The forecast for Tuukka Rask’s vacation was cloudy.

On a night Rask had a chance to set the franchise’s career wins record, a dangerous collision with an onrushing Ranger sent him home with a concussion, and left the Bruins wondering how long their No. 1 netminder might be out of action.

“That’s the one position we’ve avoided any serious injury,” said coach Bruce Cassidy, whose club enters the All-Star break at 27-17-5, third in the East, despite playing extended stretches without its top players. “It looks like it’s going to be one of those years where we’re going to be tested at every position.”


Rask was helped off the ice with 1:28 left in the first period, after New York winger Filip Chytil slammed hip-first into his head and sent him tumbling into the net. Chytil, bumped by defenseman Charlie McAvoy as he tried to jump past Rask, had gone end-to-end against the Bruins and scored a goal to make it 1-1.

Seeing their top netminder laying still on the ice for more than a minute was “nerve-wracking,” Bruins winger Brad Marchand said. “He didn’t look great coming off. . . . I wouldn’t say we got deflated, but we were all very concerned about Tuuks.”

Rask, who was playing his best hockey of the year (in his previous seven starts: 6-0-1, 1.71 GAA, .942), was replaced by Jaroslav Halak. The backup saved 11 of 13 shots and allowed two Mika Zibanejad goals, one in the second period and one in the third.

Marchand and Danton Heinen scored for the Bruins, who have produced two-goal nights in three of their previous eight outings and went into the break having lost three of four (1-2-1).


“Not the week we wanted to have,” said an irritated Marchand. “We need to be better.”

Bruins won the possession game, but could not possess a lead for long. Their 56 attempts and 29 shots on net overshadowed the Rangers’ 28 and 20. They won 64 percent of faceoffs. In total, they held the edge for 56 seconds.

Heinen opened the scoring 17:28 into the first period, snapping a puck past Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist (27 saves) after Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson won a board battle and fed his linemate.

That was especially encouraging for Boston after it came up empty after six minutes of power play time in the first 10 minutes. During that stretch — made possible by Marchand drawing a hold and David Krejci drawing a double-minor high-stick — the Bruins had as many shorthanded breaks against (three) as power play shots on goal. They were so out of sync, Marchand and Rask clipped each other as the goalie played the puck behind the net.

Chytil dashed the good vibes less than a minute after Heinen’s goal. The speedy 19-year-old rookie went end-to-end and scored on Rask, who made sharp saves on a pair of 2-on-1s by the shorthanded Rangers.

“It’s happened to us how many games now — four, five, six — where we’ve kind of let off the gas, got comfortable, maybe thought it was going to be an easy shift the next one,” Cassidy said. “We’ll address it, but you’re not a teacher until the student listens, right? That’s part of it. We have to buy in.”


Most of the hand-wringing was about Rask, whose head snapped back as he took the full brunt of the 6-foot-2-inch, 207-pound Chytil. Rask, 31, is at least the fifth concussed Bruin this year, joining McAvoy, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, and Urho Vaakanainen. Concussions being what they are — a fog of symptoms, with no clear recovery timetable — it is unknown when he might return. The Bruins’ next game is Jan. 29 at home against the Winnipeg Jets.

Rask, 252-145-56 in his 12-year career, remains tied with Tiny Thompson atop Boston’s wins list.

Tuukka Rask is clearly in pain as he gets helped off the ice by teammates.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Halak, who has struggled lately, allowed a goal on the third shot he faced. Zibanejad gave the Rangers a one-goal lead at 5:22 of the second, tipping a point shot from backliner Brady Skjei. Cassidy said the team was lined up wrong on the faceoff.

Marchand tied it 3:24 into the third, scoring his 19th off a dish from David Pastrnak in front. Pastrnak fished the puck from behind the net and threw a no-look feed to Marchand, who takes a four-game point streak (3-3—6) into the break.

After Zdeno Chara was sent off for deflecting a puck over the glass, Zibanejad beat Halak from the circle for a power play goal with 10:55 left.

The Bruins, who were 0 for 4 with three shots on their first four power plays, had a prime chance to tie it in the final five minutes, the tension from the Rask injury having finally come to a boil.


Chris Wagner knocked over Rangers winger Jesper Fast, and former Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid — who received a standing ovation from the Garden crowd during a first-period tribute video — rained hammers on Wagner.

The Bruins’ Chris Wagner got the worst of it in a brawl with former Bruin Adam McQuaid.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

With McQuaid (double-minor roughing) and Wagner (roughing) in the box, the Bruins had three shots on the man-advantage. Better, but 0 for 5 on the power play is not good enough. Not for a team with high aspirations.

“We have Stanley Cup champions in the room,” Cassidy said. “We talk about leadership with this team and how good it is, and it didn’t change today. But at some point, it does have to come from within that . . . you learn from your [mistakes].”

More photos from Saturday’s game:

Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak looks away after giving up the go-ahead goal in the third period.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy gets a little heated as the game winds down.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
Brad Marchand was pumped after scoring early in the third period to tie the game.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
Rangers players skate away as Bruins players attend to injured goalie Tuukka Rask.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Follow Matt Porter on Twitter at @mattyports.