By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Tuukka Rask was in vintage form against the Capitals, stopping 159 of 169 shots sent his way during the five-game series win over Washington.READ MORE: Verdugo, Red Sox Rally From 4 Down, Top Blue Jays 6-5 In 9th
The Bruins certainly leaned on Rask in the first round, and they’ll rely on them going forward, as they try to do what they did a decade ago and win a Stanley Cup. Whether they can actually make that happen, of course, remains to be seen.
Also unknown is the status of Rask after this season. The 34-year-old Finn’s contract expires after this year. He said prior to the season that he only wants to play in Boston and that he intends to continue his career past this season, but he’s still without a contract beyond the current season.
On Tuesday, Bruins president Cam Neely said that it’s going to stay that way until the season ends.
“Both Tuukka and our camp, we said we’d table everything until after the season to see how things go and get a better sense after the season’s over for how Tuukka is feeling, both mentally and physically,” Neely said. “And we’ll go from there.”READ MORE: Stream The Palmetto Championship
Rask is in the final season of an eight-year, $56 million deal. That deal came about after Rask and the Bruins couldn’t agree to a long-term contract prior to the lockout-shortened 2013 season. That year, Rask posted a .929 save percentage and 2.00 GAA with an NHL-best five shutouts in the regular season before having one of the best postseasons on record (.940 save percentage, 1.88 GAA). As a result of that performance, the Bruins gave him the big-money deal. Rask won the Vezina Trophy the next season as the league’s most outstanding goaltender.
Last summer, Rask left the NHL’s “bubble” in Toronto just two games into the first round to tend to a family emergency. Speculation about his future in Boston has raged since. Outside of Rask stating several times that he hopes to play in Boston beyond this year, not much has actually happened in terms of a deal coming together.
“I haven’t really thought of that,” Rask said when asked about his playing future following the Bruins’ overtime loss in Game 1 vs. the Capitals. “I think I just try to go game by game, series by series and then see what the future brings after that. Obviously there is going to be some decisions to be made, but we’ll do that when the time is right. Right now, I’m not thinking that. I’m just thinking game by game, series by series.”
In a follow-up question, Rask was asked if he feels physically capable of playing beyond this season.
“Well I’m not going to ask that right now,” Rask said with a laugh. “I’ll talk to you after the season. You’ll find out.”MORE NEWS: Bergeron Going Year By Year With Career, Swayman 'Addicted' To Playoff Hockey, And Everything Else From Bruins' Final Press Conferences
Veteran goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who’s served in the role behind Rask for three years, is also a pending unrestricted free agent. But he’s not even a part of the playoff roster at the moment, as 22-year-old Jeremy Swayman emerged as a solid young golatender for Boston this year (.945 save percentage, 1.50 GAA, 7-3-0 record). Swayman is under contract through 2023.