The Bruins restart their 2019-2020 campaign today against the Philadelphia Flyers. Since Boston led the NHL with 100 points, they were able to avoid playing a 5 game series to get into the postseason.
With the Bruins in this Round Robin with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Flyers, that gives them the opportunity to tinker with their lineup. While these games are important, Boston has the luxury of getting every player prepared for the postseason.
That is why Jaroslav Halak should start one of these Round Robin games.
Now I am not saying this because I think Tuukka Rask will never win a Stanley Cup in Boston and that the Bruins should put Halak between the pipes. I firmly believe Rask has the talent to raise The Cup as a starter. He would have last year had the top Boston scorers produced against St. Louis.
But Halak has not played in an actual NHL contest since March 5th. He made 32 saves on 33 shots in a winning effort against the Panthers in Florida. Boston should start him in one of these games to shake off the cobwebs.
If Rask gets hurt or is ineffective, Halak can step in and give the Bruins a good chance of winning. Halak would be in a tough spot if he does not play in this tournament. His first NHL contest in 5 months should not be a postseason game.
Also, Halak is a very capable goalie in his own right. The Bruins are fortunate to have Halak as their backup. He ranked 6th in the league with a goals-against-average of 2.39 this year. He was also 12th in hockey with a .919 save percentage. So Boston would not be playing Halak just for the sake of him seeing action.
These Round Robin games do matter, of course, and the Bruins need to take them seriously. However, having Halak start 1 of those contests could benefit them down the line.
Regardless of how well Boston performs their first 2 games, Halak should be in net next Sunday against Washington. Not only does this give Halak a chance to see some rubber, but Rask also gets a day off before the playoff marathon.
Rask is the starter and should play all of the postseason games if everything goes according to plan. Halak also needs to be ready if unseen circumstances arrive. Giving him the starting nod once in this tournament prepares Halak and the Bruins if Rask is unable to go.
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones