Rask expected to start Bruins home opener vs. Senators
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BOSTON -- The season is just two games old and there is already a bit of goaltending controversy with the Bruins.
Tuukka Rask, the starter the home fans love to hate, lasted just 27 minutes in the opening game and backup Jaroslav Halak started Game 2 and shut out the Sabres in Buffalo.
Immediately, there was the clamoring that seems to go along with every Rask loss.
On Monday, the Bruins will play their home opener, starting a three-game homestand by hosting the rebuilding Ottawa Senators, and Rask will be in goal, facing Mike Condon in the holiday matinee.
"I don't want to get embarrassed when I play again. I think that's where I'm at right now," Rask told NBC Sports Boston. "Get out there, get a win and feel good about yourself and build it. If you play bad or good, you flush it out and focus on the next one. Your mindset doesn't really change there."
The Senators, who hung out their rebuilding sign by sending Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks, are 1-0-1 in their first two games and are coming off a 5-3 victory over the Maple Leafs in Toronto Saturday night.
In that win, young defenseman Thomas Chabot did his best Karlsson impression, scoring two goals, including the game-winner, and setting up the winner. Dylan DeMelo and Chris Tierney, acquired in the Karlsson package, both scored in the game.
Talking about Chabot, who played 63 games for the Sens last year, coach Guy Boucher said:
"You saw the offense the ceiling's high. He's going to become just as good defensively over time. I have so much faith in him."
The Bruins were blown out 7-0 on opening night in Washington, clearly not reacting to sitting in their dressing room while the Caps raised their banner championship banner and Alex Ovechkin skated around the ice for a final time.
Near the end of that game, Lars Eller scored to make it 7-0 and Brad Marchand didn't like the way he celebrated. So, Marchand, the next chance he got, attacked and bloodied Eller to earn an ejection.
The next night, Marchand assisted on all four goals in the rebound win.
That is the essence of Marchand, a fiery leader on a Boston roster that is looking to build on last year's regular season and take the next step.
The Boston roster appears to be a work in progress, with coach Bruce Cassidy inserting Sean Kuraly for David Backes on the third line and Chris Wagner for Joakim Nordstrom on the fourth for this game.
After Saturday's win, Boucher said, "The younger guys did a great job. And the older guys did a terrific job of anchoring them."
Brady Tkachuk, the No. 4 pick in the last junior draft, has missed the first two games with a groin injury and the hope is he can make his debut in Boston on familiar ice. He left Boston University for the pros.
"Nothing official, but I felt really good today," Tkachuk said Sunday. "I felt as good as I have. Hopefully, I'm in (Monday).
"If it does work out, it would be a pretty cool story to have my first game in front of family, friends and where I went to school and my dad's from. Hopefully, it all works out."
Condon is from nearby Holliston, Ma. and will play at TD Garden for the first time. He beat the Bruins in a road game, but that was at Gillette Stadium in the Winter Classic, when Condon was with the Montreal Canadiens.
He is 2-4 with a 2.87 ERA goals against average and .907 save percentage lifetime against Boston as he makes his first start of the season.
After losing all five home games to the Senators, including playoffs, when they were eliminated by Ottawa in 2017, the Bruins swept all four games of the series last year.
Rask is 11-7-4 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .925 save percentage lifetime against the Atlantic Division foe.
Ryan Dzingel left Sunday's practice, leaving him a question mark for the Senators Monday.
Updated October 8, 2018