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Flyers and Bruins a contrast in net

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PHILADELPHIA -- It was just this past season that Tuukka Rask was the man between the pipes for the Boston Bruins during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

He'd lead the Bruins to a six-game series triumph against the Buffalo Sabres in the opening round before falling to the Philadelphia Flyers in the epic seven-game meltdown in the Eastern Conference Semifinal.

 

Rask realizes the only chance he'll get at a playoff start this year is if Vezina Trophy nominee Tim Thomas suffers an unfortunate injury or if Bruins coach Claude Julien deems a change necessary, and he's fine with that. After all, Rask and Thomas are good friends on and off the ice.

 

"I haven't played a game in a while (since April 10 in New Jersey), but we'll see what happens," Rask told NHL.com. "You just have to be ready all the time and if you get thrown in there you just have to play your game and try to be calm."

 

While Boston's goaltending situation has been settled all playoffs, the Flyers have used a carousel of three different goalies in the first eight games of the postseason. In Game 1 against Boston, a 7-3 loss, Brian Boucher started, but was replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky, who was the starter at the beginning of the playoffs. Michael Leighton, the hero of last year's run to the Stanley Cup Final, has also seen time this postseason.

As a goalie, Rask has watched the situation unfold, especially during Saturday's Game 1 at Wells Fargo Center. He knows -- and has lived -- what the Philadelphia goalies are going through.

"When you start the game, you obviously think you're going to finish it," Rask said. "It's never a good situation to be called upon in the middle of the game because then your team might be down a couple of goals. But you have to be ready when the time comes.

 

"It also depends on the situation," he continued. "If you have the privilege to have two good starters, obviously you'll take that, but no team wants to change goalies every game. Sometimes that happens so it's one of those situations you have to live with."

 

Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette has been forced to change goalies during the course of four of the team's eight playoff games this spring.

 

"If you're not doing well, you can't be satisfied, but sometimes there might be situations where you might be down a couple of goals and you know it wasn't your fault," Rask said. "It was just something that needed to be done to wake up the team. You just have to cheer for your teammates and hopefully they wake up and play better in front of the other guy. But when you let in a couple of cheap ones, and you feel like you're not on top of your game, it stinks and it's not good for the team either."

 

Rask is ready if his number is called at some point this postseason. He is 7-6 with a 2.61 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in 13 career playoff games. For the season, Rask finished 11-14-2 with a 2.67 GAA and .918 save percentage in 29 appearances.

 

He admits it wasn't his greatest season, but he also feels he's perfectly capable of providing solid play in goal if called upon.

 

"My season wasn't bad, but wasn't great either," he said. "Last year was a good season for me and then I wanted to keep it going, but things turn around, and how. Timmy (Thomas) played an excellent season and when I jumped in, I just tried to play my game and help the team win a few games. We won a few games but I can't be fully satisfied with my personal season. Still, I wasn't awful either."

 

Julien, whose team looks to take a 2-0 lead in its best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal on Monday , didn't seem too concerned, one way or another, what the Flyers did with their goaltenders.

 

"They did that in the last round and they still managed to win the series so for us we know that's something that has happened with this team since the first round," he said. "You saw it happen last year as well and they still made it to the Finals. So, I don't think we are hanging our hat on that. We are hanging our hat, and I keep saying it, on how we are going to handle our own situation and that's what is important right now."

 

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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