March 5, 2012

Rask sidelined for 4-6 weeks with groin strain

By Jesse Connolly

Given their rash of injuries, the Bruins were already facing an uphill battle coming down the stretch, but it got even steeper on Monday evening. 

General manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed that goaltender Tuukka Rask will miss 4-6 weeks a lower abdomen/groin strain. The injury was suffered during the second period of Boston's loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon.

Sans Rask, who was 11-8-3 on the year with a 2.05 goals-against average and .929 save percentage, the B's are going to have rely on Tim Thomas to carry a much bigger load than they'd ever hoped to burden him with in the final month of the regular season. 

The 37-year-old veteran has struggled of late, going 6-6-0 in his last 13 appearances. Through three games in March, Thomas sports a 3.56 goals-against average and .852 save percentage.

When coach Claude Julien elects to give the reigning Vezina Trophy a rest, his alternative will be quite a step down from Rask -- who led the league in both goals-against average and save percentage as a rookie in 2009-10. The Bruins' bench boss will be forced to turn to either Michael Hutchinson or Anton Khudobin, who's currently on the shelf himself with an injured wrist.

Should Rask recover in the minimum projected time, he'd be back on April 2. Boston concludes the regular season on April 7 against the Buffalo Sabres.