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Rask to start tonight?

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff  January 3, 2011 12:51 PM

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TORONTO -- A surprising twist here this morning when Tuukka Rask, his confidence in need of some bolstering in the eyes of Boston coach Claude Julien, was the first goalie to leave this morning's optional workout at the ACC, normally an indication that he would start in net tonight here against the Leafs.

Rask was yanked by Julien after allowing three goals in the first period Saturday night in Buffalo and the coach said that night, as well as after Sunday's workout in Etobicoke, Ont., that Rask would need to spend some time with goalie coach Bob Essensa when the club returned to Boston.

If Rask is the guy tonight, why the change of course? There is a chance that GM Peter Chairelli encouraged Julien to play Rask here, possibly motivated by the fear of Rask, only 23 years old, slipping into a funk after Saturday's subpar performance and then riding the bench again here. Essensa also could have spoken to both Rask and Julien via phone and offered similar input.

Important to keep in mind right now that all of this, including Rask getting the start here, is speculative. But going by standard operatiing procedure on day-of-game skates, Rask right now is the likely starter for 7:00 puck drop.

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