COMMENTARY| "Saved by Tuukka Rask."
It may have been a broken record Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, but it was music to the ears of the Boston Bruins. Rask saved 43 shots leading the Bruins to a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers.
The win, the fifth in the last six times on the ice, moves the Bruins atop the Eastern Conference standings.
The biggest save of the night came early and set the tone for the rest of the night.
Chris Kreider was awarded a penalty shot 6:16 into the game after he was tripped, by Johnny Boychuk, as he was driving to the net. On the penalty shot, Kreider circled in from the right wing and had his wrist-shot go off of Rask's blocker to keep the game scoreless.
Kreider may have nightmares of Rask after Tuesday night. The Bruins netminder stoned Kreider four times on the night including a shot from the left side of the net with 13:10 left in the game. Kreider appeared to have an opening from point-blank range before Rask denied him the game-tying goal.
Rick Nash also had a pretty good look in on a goal for the Rangers. Returning for the first time in 17 games (concussion) Nash was denied by Rask on a brief breakaway with 2:26 in the first period.
On a night when it appeared the Bruins lacked energy on the offense, in their second back-to-back in seven days, Rask looked fresh as could be. But of course he may have been playing with a little extra motivation as well.
The general manager of the Finland National Team was in attendance watching Rask. If Rask was not in the running for the starting spot on the Finnish team at the Sochi Olympic Games this winter he may have earned that spot Tuesday night.
Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille scored goals in the second period to give Rask support. Paille's goal was short-handed and equalized the Rangers goal (Derick Brassard) on the same power-play. The goal for the man advantage by the Rangers ended the Bruins franchise record of 33 penalty kills.
The Bruins were out-shot in the game 44-22.
"They (Rangers) came at us hard and Tuukka stood tall for us tonight," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. "We felt like we had a lot of stuff going on the ice that was probably a little bit sloppy on our end of it…we were able to hang on but a lot of credit goes to Tuukka."
Dennis Seidenberg left the game early in the first period after just one shift. The loss of the defenseman left the Bruins playing with just five blue liners for the remainder of the game which may have resulted in some of the "sloppy" play Julien was referring to.
Julien did not have an update on Seidenberg after the game, but said it is an apparent lower-body injury and he will be evaluated further on Wednesday.
Rask mentioned after the game he would rather face 40-plus shots each game opposed to half as many. The comment did not come to any surprise to Julien.
"No (I am not surprised) but I think a lot of goalies will tell you the same thing," Julien said. "When you don't get that many shots, you get cold. But I think he just felt it tonight. He was poised and was squaring all the pucks and didn't make a lot of things look complicated."
In the last two games the man between the pipes has stopped 67 of 69 shots. And that broken record of "Saved by Rask" may be a popular track the rest of the season.
Travis David is a freelance sports reporter and has been published in the Chicago Sun-Times among other newspaper and online publications. He is a credentialed member of the Boston Bruins media website. Follow him on Twitter @Tdavid_21.
SOURCE: Quotes gathered from the Boston Bruins media website.
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- Boston Bruins
- Tuukka Rask
- Chris Kreider