Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask had a chance to set a franchise record Saturday.
Instead, he left the ice in a great deal of pain and with a concussion after a vicious collision in the crease.
New York Rangers center Filip Chytil had just scored against Rask, using his speed to get past two Bruins defenders.
But as Chytil was hooked briefly by Boston’s David Pastrnak and continued his forward momentum toward the front of the net, he was bumped into by sliding Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy and went airborne.
Rask was smacked in the head by Chytil’s hip and was bowled over. As he fell, he went into the post and his head hit the ice hard.
As the Rangers gathered around to congratulate Chytil, concerned Bruins players and their trainer gathered around Rask.
He eventually got up slowly and was helped off the ice and to the dressing room but was grimacing the whole way.
Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak replaced Rask in net and gave up two goals in a 3-2 loss.
“He brought it to the net and he jumps there,” McAvoy told reporters about Chytil. “I had two hands on my stick and I don’t feel like I shoved him at all. … You hate to see it. Obviously, Tuukka is a huge part of our team and has been playing great for us.”
Rask had struggled early this season but took a two-game leave of absence in November and started improving. Heading into the game, he had been red hot, going 6-0-1 in his last seven games with a 1.70 goals-against average and .942 save percentage.
He had a chance Saturday to set a Bruins record for wins. He is tied with Cecil “Tiny” Thompson at 252.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Rask will go into concussion protocol. The Bruins will get a break while the goalie recovers because they don’t play again until Jan. 29 because of a bye week and the All-Star break.
“We’ll be hoping for the best for him, praying for him,” McAvoy said.