Jaroslav Halak stopped 29 shots after goalie Tuukka Rask opted out of the NHL playoffs and Charlie Coyle had a goal and assist to help the Boston Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 in Toronto on Saturday for a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Rask’s absence was announced Saturday morning and it did not seem to rattle the defending East champions.
“We move on,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I know it sounds cold, but on the professional part of it we have a job to do here.”
Rask, a Vezina Trophy finalist, is the highest-profile player to opt out of the league’s return from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. Rask led the NHL with a 2.12 goals-against average and helped Boston reach Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals last year.
Rask left the league’s bubble in Toronto to be with his wife and three young children, including a newborn.
“We found out shortly before departure of the bus,” Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara recalled. “Obviously, our first concern is the health and safety of his family.”