Daniel Vladar, the Bruins’ 21-year-old goaltending prospect, was thrilled to be called up from AHL Providence to back up Jaroslav Halak while Tuukka Rask takes a leave of absence.
BOSTON - Daniel Vladar was happy enough just to have turned in a good night’s work on Friday. He didn’t think it would turn into the weekend of a lifetime.
Vladar, 21, was the goalie the Bruins chose to promote from AHL Providence on an emergency basis to back up to Jaroslav Halak while Tuukka Rask is on a leave of absence to address a personal matter. Vladar got the news after stopping 26 of 27 shots in the P-Bruins’ 2-1, overtime victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night in Providence.
“Mr. Sweeney (general manager Don Sweeney) talked to me after the game, and told me I’m going up,” Vladar said. “It made my day.”
Vladar, a third-year pro who is only starting his first full AHL season, had previously been to TD Garden to play in exhibition games, and to practice with a taxi squad during the Bruins’ last two post-season runs. He had never dressed for a regular-season game before Saturday night, though.
“First time I’m actually on the bench,” Vladar said. “Really exciting.”
Vladar, a native of Prague in the Czech Republic, was the third-round pick (No. 75 overall) in the Bruins’ 10-player draft haul of 2015, which has so far produced winger Jake DeBrusk and Brandon Carlo. His first two seasons were spent primarily with the Bruins’ ECHL affiliate in Atlanta, and he had divided playing time with Zane McIntyre in Providence this season. Vladar allowed 11 goals over this year’s first three starts, but limited two of the last three opponents to a single goal.
“There’s always something I can improve,” he said, “but it’s getting better.”
Vladar was only vaguely aware of the announcement of Rask’s leave of absence when he went out to face the AHL Penguins on Friday.
“I saw something on Twitter before the game that something happened to Tuukka,” Vladar said, “but honestly, I didn’t think that there was a possibility for me to go up. I was already focused on the game.”
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said there was a chance that Vladar could make his NHL debut in Sunday night’s home game against the Golden Knights, but Vladar spent Saturday simply trying to process the fact that he was going to dress for an NHL game.
“Obviously, it’s the best thing in my life that’s happened so far,” he said. “This is a day I started thinking of when I started playing hockey.”
No Noel: The promotion of Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson from AHL Providence gave the Bruins a spare forward for the first time since Ryan Donato was assigned to the P-Bruins after an Oct. 30 game at Carolina. Cassidy’s shuffling of personnel sent veteran David Backes to right wing on the fourth line, making Noel Acciari a healthy scratch for the first time this season.
“We had a little bit more competition in our lineup at the start of the year, and I thought it played out well,” Cassidy said. “Maybe that’s what they need to get their attention.”
Acciari, who scored 10 goals in 61 games last season, his first full NHL campaign, didn’t score a point and was minus-6 through the Bruins’ first 15 games. Cassidy was more disappointed, however, that Acciari was among a group of physical, energy players who didn’t do enough to change momentum in Thursday’s 8-5 loss to the Canucks.
“We do expect some of those physical players, especially in games like the other night when it’s not going our way, to change the tide,” Cassidy said. “And (Acciari) falls into that group.”
Around the boards: Defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who has been in concussion protocol since his last game on Oct. 18, skated for the second straight day on Saturday morning. He was joined by fellow sidelined defensemen Kevan Miller (hand) and Urho Vaakanainen (concussion) … Fourth-line center Sean Kuraly played his 99th career NHL game on Saturday, with a chance to hit 100 on Sunday against the Golden Knights … Saturday’s game was the 97th of Zdeno Chara’s career against the Maple Leafs, the most he has played against an NHL opponent.