“It was during the biggest midsummer party in Finland,” Rask recalled. “It was 2 a.m., so you can imagine how I felt when they called me. Next day I was kind of surprised and realized what happened.”
Rask showed the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night just what they got rid of when he earned his first NHL win in his first start, lifting the Boston Bruins to a 4-2 victory over Toronto.
Boston’s 20-year-old goalie made 30 saves and was chosen as top star of the game.
“Of course it means a lot,” Rask said of beating the Leafs. “It was fun to play, to show them that I’m good enough to play at this level.”
Chuck Kobasew scored with 3:31 left in the third period to put the Bruins ahead. He stepped into the slot and ripped a wrist shot past Vesa Toskala on the stick side, giving Boston a 3-2 lead and stunning the home crowd that saw the Leafs blow a 2-0 lead.
Kobasew capped the win with an empty-net goal 26.7 seconds from the end. P.J. Axelsson and Phil Kessel also scored for the Bruins, who beat the Leafs for the second time in less than a week after a 5-2 win at home last Thursday.
“A game like tonight, where we are up two goals and let Boston get back into the game, it’s certainly very disappointing,” Sundin said. “It was an important game for us.”
Rask flashed his talent at times, robbing Darcy Tucker from in-close in the first period and later stopping him on a breakaway. But Rask also gave up a long goal to Sundin.
Both the Bruins and Leafs were content with a low-risk, defensive approach that featured dump-ins and dump-outs and little else until Boston’s late comeback.
“The frustration now is trying to get a good solid defensive game out of our team,” Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. “We give up 25 shots, not a whole lot, but now we’re not generating much offense at the other end.”
The Leafs opened the scoring during a power play 15:10 into the first period. McCabe’s pass attempt deflected off Bruins center Glen Metropolit and landed behind Rask.
The fluky goal gave Toronto life, and the Leafs carried play for most of the second period.
Sundin made it 2-0 at 15:36 of the middle period when his shot from just inside the blue line beat Rask, who wasn’t screened, on the stick side. The puck was on edge when Sundin shot it and came in on Rask with a sinker effect.
“It wasn’t tipped, but it was a curveball,” Rask said.
The Bruins responded when Kessel scored with only 47.9 seconds to go in the second period during a power play. The second-year forward one-timed a nifty pass from behind the net by Kobasew. The goal ended Toskala’s personal best shutout streak at 141 minutes, 47 seconds.
Boston pressed in the third and was rewarded. Axelsson scored his first goal of the season at 9:52 when he one-timed a shot into an empty net after a nice deke and pass from Marc Savard that got Toskala to commit.
Boston was 1-for-2 on the power play. Toronto was 1-for-4. … Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke was in attendance. … Sundin moved into sole possession of 27th place on the NHL career goal list with 534, one ahead of Frank Mahovlich. Teemu Selanne is next at 540. … Leafs D Tomas Kaberle had two assists, giving him 300 in the NHL. … Tim Thomas had started 10 straight games before giving way to Rask, who was 7-2 with a 2.10 goals-against average in nine AHL games at Providence this season. … Boston G Manny Fernandez, out since Oct. 30 with a knee injury, is expected to be activated Wednesday.