Tuukka Rask, Bruins earn a ‘breather’ while getting ready for ‘pretty familiar’ Canadiens
|04.26.14 at 8:03 pm ET|
Here we go again.
Depending on whom was asked in the Bruins dressing room after Saturday’s 4-2 series clinching win over the Detroit Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens are either just another opponent ahead in the playoffs or the obvious arch-rival that awaits in a long series.
Perhaps Vezina Trophy finalist Tuukka Rask had the best perspective after stopping 31 of 33 shots Saturday to lead the Bruins into the second round.
With the Flyers-Rangers and Penguins-Blue Jackets assured of going at least six games, the Bruins are assured of not starting their series until late next week, possibly as late as next Saturday at TD Garden. The team has Sunday off.
“I think people tend to make it a huge deal outside our locker room, but we’ve learned over the years that the more focus resting on our own doing and keep the focus on us, we get the better results, so for me and for everybody else I think it’s just another series we want to win and [we’re] looking forward to it,” Rask said. “They have a great team, so it’s going to be tough, but we’ll see.
“They’re a quick team. They’re a talented team, so I’m sure it’ll be entertaining for the fans. We’ll take a breather here for a couple days and then we’ll see when it starts, but we’ll enjoy this win today and then we’ll move on.”
Rask knows that while Detroit came in with the reputation of having a lot of speed, Montreal will be on a whole new level. Throw in familiarity, and the Bruins goalie knows full well what is in store for him.
“They have speed, talent offensively. I don’t know. I think those are the biggest things,” Rask said. “They changed the [regular season] schedule so we don’t face them six times a year now, but still we’re pretty familiar from playing them. I guess when they changed these playoffs I guess they want the rivalries to be in the second round.”
As for his thoughts on his own play between the pipes against the Wings on Saturday?
“Pretty good. Only two goals. [They] didn’t really have a chance,” Rask said.
That is saying something when you’re going up against a team like the Red Wings, facing elimination.
“We really wanted to focus on that, getting the lead and then getting a good start, so we’re really happy with that, but we’re still looking for that kind of 60 minutes and maybe it’s coming,” Rask said.
“We played good. We played great in the first period. They had a couple scoring chances, but that was it. Then the second period penalties both ways, kind of phantom calls there and that kind of breaks the rhythm for everybody and then they kind of took the momentum and in the third. It’s a 3-1 game for us so obviously they’re going to throw everything they’ve got at us and then they get the 3-2 goal but then we push back.”
The biggest goal of the game was not lost on Rask. He was on the other end of the ice watching as captain Zdeno Chara ripped a 100 MPH cannon past his counterpart Jonas Gustavsson with 3.8 seconds left in the second, snapping a 1-1 tie.
“Oh it was huge. Every time you can score [with] a couple seconds left in a period it gives you momentum and a boost for your confidence so I think it really helped us going in the third period,” Rask said.
That’s not to say Rask wasn’t tested in the final seconds. The Wings got a goal from Henrik Zetterberg 3:52 left in the third to make it 3-2 before Jarome Iginla iced with with an empty netter.
“It’s not fun, but you just hope that your guys get the empty netter, you know, because a lot of times the other team gets shots from the point,” Rask said of the tense final moments. “They come through and you never see them and then it’s a scramble in front of the net. Anything can happen, so it’s really not fun and you just hope that your team will get that goal.”
“It was great. It was great throughout the series. I don’t think we had too many breakdowns. We gave them a few chances but really, really good effort from everybody, but it’s only one series. We’ve got to keep that kind of effort going.”