BOSTON (CBS) – The streaking Bruins are the hottest team in hockey, and their 2-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday night moved them past Pittsburgh for first place in the Eastern Conference and good for the second best record in all of the NHL.
Billy Jaffe of NESN joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich in studio Friday morning to recap the game and talk about the state of the team.
At first he was confused why coach Claude Julien would start goalie Tuukka Rask on the second night of a back-to-back, but after Tuukka’s performance it’s hard to argue with the decision.
But it’s certainly a valid second guess. Tuukka has played more games this season than ever before, the B’s have a comfortable 13-point lead in the division and are neck-and-neck with Pittsburgh for the conference lead, so why not go with the backup?
Simply, Rask is feeling fine and playing great post-Olympics and Claude wants to test him.
“It was a hell of a decision. It faked us all out. That was the Claude Julien version of the Statue of Liberty play,” said Jaffe. “All of us assumed that it would be a Chad Johnson start.
“I think it was a bit of a challenge for Tuukka, like, ‘Hey it’s the second night of a back-to-back get us this game.’ The Bruins are on a roll right now, and perhaps Tuukka has had enough rest because of Chad Johnson playing more.”
In actuality, starting Tuukka against Phoenix (assuming he sits Saturday vs. Carolina) is actually the better option according to Jaffe.
“I’m gonna guess Claude talked to Tuukka and he said, ‘You ready? Great, get in there.’ It’s a good challenge for Rask. Let’s say they rest him [Saturday against Carolina], then you have Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. You’d give him three straight days instead of one-and-a-half, so you get more rest by playing him last night and giving him the weekend off.”
Listen below for the full discussion: