After what seemed like an eternity for Boston Bruins fans, longtime goaltender Tuukka Rask is making his return after offseason hip surgery and his fellow teammates are happy to have him back.

On Tuesday, Rask, who had been a free agent while rehabilitating from an operation to repair a torn labrum in his hip, officially signed a one-year contract with the Bruins. Rask had made it known, loud and clear, that if he returned to the NHL, he would only play for Boston.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy says that Rask will likely be starting Thursday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers. This would return Rask to the spotlight on home ice as the Bruins take on the Flyers in his first game since last summer in the Stanley Cup playoffs where, as Bruins fans sadly remember, Boston was sent packing after losing to the New York Islanders.

Rask will be in the backup goaltender's role supporting Linus Ullmark for tonight's game against the Montreal Canadiens. Rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman was sent to the Providence Bruins in the AHL.

And the best part about Rask's return? Right now the Boston Bruins are playing exceedingly well. Since the start of the new year, the Bruins have won 5 games out of 6 and they're currently at eighth place in the NHL Eastern Conference playoffs.

For his part, Rask says he "feels great." Rask already holds Bruins' franchise records for most games played and most wins by a goaltender. In 14 NHL seasons, Rask has recorded 540 starts and 306 career wins.

For more on the story, visit NHL.com's website here.

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