|Tuukka Rask: ‘Just try to save every puck’||12.14.11 at 9:58 am ET|
There were several chances for Tuukka Rask to blink in the third period Tuesday and lose his first shutout of the season.
But the Bruins goalie, on the heels of replacing Tim Thomas on Saturday in Columbus, didn’t flinch. He turned away all 20 shots in the third period, and all 41 for the game as the Bruins beat the Kings, 3-0.
“I just tried to save every puck,” Rask said of his ninth career shutout. “You don’t want to think about shutouts because you might chase yourself but ‘ couple tough chances in the end but that was it.
“You just try to protect your lead and we hopefully get that third goal. They came out hard so got some pretty good chances but were able to keep them off the scoreboard and then Marchy [Brad Marchand] got a nice goal there to extend the lead so that was good to see.”
“[Brown] pretty much didn’t have anything else and just tried to shoot it upstairs, don’t know if he actually shot it low or something but it was some kind of misplay there and Johnny was just taking back door and he left the guy there for me and ‘ hit something,” Rask said.
Rask said he wasn’t looking at the shots accumulating on the scoreboard during the final 20 minutes.
“I don’t think you have time to watch the shot clock or anything but you definitely feel the momentum changing at times and today they had a lot of chances in the third,” he said. “And maybe we weren’t at our sharpest but they came at us pretty hard too.
So, on a night the Bruins didn’t have captain Zdeno Chara for the first time this season, the Bruins needed Rask to be the true last line of defense.
“Probably some part of that is Z missing but I think we also need to tighten up,” Rask said. “We weren’t that bad we didn’t give too many second chances and lots of shots came from the outside and stuff. But it’s just one of those games where you get lots of shots against and I don’t think it’s because of [Chara] missing.
“You need some luck to have some shutouts too. They had a couple of posts today. And I think it’s definitely tougher to have a shutout than to play one period.”
Now, Claude Julien has a decision to make. Will he ride the hot hand tonight in Ottawa with Rask or will he go back to his No. 1 in Tim Thomas? No matter the answer, Rask showed Tuesday that the Bruins now have two dependable netminders as they hit the road to take on the Senators and Flyers this week.
“He was good tonight, arguably our best player tonight,” Julien said. “He stood tall and they threw a lot of shots at him, certainly not easy shots to stop. There was a lot of traffic in front of the net’screens. He had the quick feet going, made the saves on close-range and was probably our best player. So he got better as the game went on and I thought he did a good job the other night coming in and kind of settling himself in in the third period and then he just carried that into tonight.”
|Morning skate notes: Zdeno Chara to travel with Bruins||12.13.11 at 11:49 am ET|
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask will be between the pipes Tuesday as the Bruins take on the Kings at TD Garden. Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s morning skate that he intends to play Thomas Wednesday against the Senators.
Gregory Campbell was not on the ice for the morning skate. He will miss Tuesday’s game and will “probably not” play Wednesday, according to Julien. Campbell is dealing with a foot injury, and Zach Hamill is expected to center the fourth line in his place.
Daniel Paille, meanwhile, underwent a neuropsych evaluation Monday. The winger said the team was still awaiting results on the test, with Julien adding that he could play if he is cleared before the game. Paille took part in the morning skate.
Zdeno Chara (leg) did not skate, and will miss Tuesday’s game. Julien did say, however, that the captain will travel with the team to Ottawa Tuesday night. The coach said he was unsure whether Campbell would go.
|Andy Brickley on D&C: Revenge on Milan Lucic could start early||11.23.11 at 9:49 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning for his weekly appearance to discuss the surging Bruins, who are on a nine-game winning streak.
Boston faces the Sabres on Wednesday night in a game between two Northeast Division rivals. But the game is also notable because of what occurred the last two teams faced off. In the Bruins’ win over Buffalo on Nov. 12, winger Milan Lucic collided with Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who had left his crease to retrieve a loose puck. Some perceived it as a dirty hit by Lucic, but Buffalo did not react to it during the game. In Wednesday’s game, however, the Sabres are expected to seek out Lucic and exact revenge, and Brickley said that it could happen right away.
“I’m hoping that we get a look at it right from the opening puck drop,” Brickley said, adding: “It’s either going to be a bloodbath right from the start or it’s going to be a Wednesday night November game between two teams battling for first place or something in between. You never know what you’re going to get. But the anticipation is that the Buffalo Sabres are going to let the Bruins know that they’re going to man up and stand up from themselves and for one another.”
After the Sabres missed their first chance to respond, they received widespread criticism. Although both teams reportedly have been spoken to by NHL discipline boss Brendan Shanahan, Brickley said the Sabres can’t afford to let another opportunity pass.
“You never really get that same exact genuine opportunity that they had to respond when Lucic collided with Miller — or hit him or checked him or ran him, however you want to describe it. That opportunity has come and gone. And you never get that same opportunity back,” Brickley said. “But because these guys are division rivals and they’re both very good teams, they expect to see each other in the postseason, they have to respond. And if it means you sacrifice the two points tonight to send a certain message even though it’s really not part of their DNA, it’s not really how their team is made up, they do have to stand up for themselves tonight.”
Asked who he thought would be the one to fight Lucic, Brickley mentioned Sabres center Paul Gaustad. After the game on Nov. 12, Gaustad said that he was embarrassed by his team’s failure to respond to Lucic’s hit immediately.
“I expect Gaustad, he was kind of under the microscope, he had a lot of things to say following the game about how embarrassed they were,” Brickley said. “Pretty good-sized guy. He’s not on a short list on the toughest guys in the NHL, but he’s tough.”
|Andrew Ference on D&C: Bruins take the Bill Belichick approach on trade rumors||11.18.11 at 10:11 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning for his weekly appearance. With their 2-1 shootout win over the Blue Jackets Thursday night, Ference and the Bruins have now won seven straight games, all in the month of November. But the win over Columbus was not as easy — or as pretty — as the other wins have been for Boston. Ference said that’s just all part of the game.
“It definitely wasn’t a pretty thing to watch,” Ference said. “They came to play and it was a weird game, it probably wasn’t the best game to watch. What can you do? Those happen, but come playoff time, we’ll take the points.”
Coming up big for Boston was goaltender Tuukka Rask, who had 30 saves and stopped two of the three attempts in the shootout. Rask was part of trade rumors early in the week, as some have speculated that the Bruins would consider trading him for Blue Jackets high scorer Rick Nash.
The rumors only got more press when Rask appeared to have an angry meltdown in practice on Wednesday when he gave up a goal during a special teams drill and tried to break his stick over the crossbar. But Ference said he doesn’t think the team pays much attention to trade speculation.
“I’m not even really sure who pays attention to that stuff. I know most guys don’t,” Ference said. “I think most guys kind of go to the Bill Belichick, never read anything that goes on. It sounds like a cop out, but I really think guys don’t pay attention to it.”
Ference went on to say that it’s an advantage to have two solid goaltenders in Rask and Tim Thomas.
“[Rask] is great for us. I think it’s awesome to have two goalies that we can have complete confidence in,” Ference said. “From a player’s perspective, you want the best players on your team. Players that you have the greatest chance of winning with. And if I can look back and see two goalies that gives us an unbelievable chance of winning every night, why wouldn’t I want that? I’d be crazy not to.”
|David Krejci, Bruins know they ‘didn’t deserve to win’||at 9:08 am ET|
He may have tricked Curtis Sanford on the decisive goal of the shootout that gave the Bruins a 2-1 win over the lowly Blue Jackets Thursday night at TD Garden, but David Krejci wasn’t fooling anyone after the team’s seventh straight win.
This was a game in which the Bruins were outworked and outmuscled. But in the end, they found a way to get the two points.
They’ll take it.
“Yeah, I don’t know if we deserve this win tonight but we’ll take it,” Krejci said. “I think games like that happens sometimes and I think we battled through it and we got our two points, so we’ll take that.”
The Bruins led the Jackets 6-5 in shots after 20 minutes but then hit the wall of walls in the second, getting outshot 14-8 on their home ice and looking like a tired team that was finishing up a five-game homestand against a team that had won just three times in 17 previous tries.
“Yeah, well, I guess we kind of thought it was going to be an easy game but it wasn’t,” Krejci said. “They came here to play and they were really hard on their sticks and they were winning lots of battles, so I don’t think we were ready for that. So, it was a very tough game and, you know, like I said, I don’t think we deserved to win tonight but we’ll take the two points.”
Was it fatigue?
“Yeah, it could be,” the game’s hero said. “Maybe it — last week — especially the last few games, they were really hard and took lots of energy out of us so maybe it looked like it, but like I said, we still — the effort was still there, we still battled through it and at the end of the night we had our two points so we’re happy about that.”
As for his game-winner through the legs of Sanford, Krejci said he was just glad he wasn’t facing Tuukka Rask.
“I knew what I’m going to do,” Krejci said. “Obviously, we practiced some things. With Tuukks, we do shootouts at the end of the practice but Tuukks knows me pretty well in the last few years so it’s kind of hard to score. But these other goalies, they don’t know what I do, so I knew exactly what I’m going to do and it worked this time.”
And the lesson learned Thursday for the defending Stanley Cup champs?
“Well, don’t take anybody lightly,” Krejci said. “You know, to end a streak — you can lose against the last-place team, you can beat badly the first-place team. Just don’t take anybody lightly and just play your game. I think that’s what we have to do from now on.”
|Tuukka Rask leads Bruins to shootout win over Blue Jackets||11.17.11 at 9:42 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask and David Krejci came up big for the Bruins Thursday as they defeated the Blue Jackets, 2-1, in shootout fashion at TD Garden. Rask made 30 saves and stopped two of the three attempts in the shootout. With the shootout tied at one after two rounds, Krejci beat Curtis Sanford stick-side before Rask stopped Antione Vermette to give the B’s the win. Rich Peverley also scored for the B’s in the shootout.
Derek MacKenzie tipped a Nikita Nikitin shot on the power play to give Columbus a 1-0 lead at 2:49 of the second period. Adam McQuaid then scored his first goal of the season at 4:24 on a goal that was initially credited to Peverley.
The Bruins outshot the Blue Jackets, 5-4, in overtime, with Columbus holding a 27-22 advantage during regulation and 31-27 advantage throughout the game. The game ended a stretch of six straight games in which the B’s scored at least four goals.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– McQuaid got his first goal of the season against the team that drafted him. The defenseman was taken by Columbus in the second round of the 2005 draft and was dealt to the B’s in 2007.
– Rask had a strong showing for the B’s on a night in which he had to be on his toes. The number of Bruins turnovers and the Blue Jackets’ shot advantage meant the 24-year-old had to come up big, time after time, and he did. Rask stopped MacKenzie point-blank in front after the Columbus center got a feed from behind the net, and he made a nice pad save on Jeff Carter in the second. He came up big once again in overtime on a pair of shots in front.
– Shawn Thornton got an opportunity to drop the gloves when he squared off with Jared Boll at 8:35 of the second period. It was a pretty lengthy bout, and one that grew pretty heated, as the two were still in each other’s faces and screaming at one another following the fight. Boll may have been mad at Thornton for trying to continue the fight after refs tried to break it up.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Sloppy, sloppy play for much of the first two periods. Turnovers led to Columbus chances, including a slip-up to the right of Rask’s net by Steven Kampfer, Mark Letestu gained control on the play, but Rask bailed the B’s out, as he often had to do amidst a generally drowsy night for Boston.
– Benoit Pouliot took a really dumb roughing penalty after some work in the corner of the offensive zone with Aaron Johnson led to him taking it too far and getting his hands in the face of the Columbus defenseman right in front of a referee. With the game tied in the third period and Pouliot’s spot in the lineup not solidified, it wasn’t the smartest move in the world. Pouliot stayed in the lineup with the return of Daniel Paille, meaning Jordan Caron was the healthy scratch. We’ll see if Pouliot’s penalty costs him an opportunity Saturday against the Islanders.
– Speaking of Pouliot, the winger nearly made it two straight games with a goal when he beat Sanford high stick side. The puck appeared to go in and bounce out at first glance, but play continued and there was no video review at the next stoppage, suggesting it rang off the post/crossbar.
– A hell of a stat dug up by the great Scott McLaughlin, who notes that the Bruins’ four straight games with a power play goal allowed marks their longest such stretch since Oct. 1-12 of 2009.
– With no points in the game, Tyler Seguin now has a season-worst two-game points drought. That should borderline go in the “What Went Right” section, as it illustrates how insane Seguin has been statically this season. Seguin was tied for the lead amongst Bruins forwards with three shots on goal Thursday.
Tuukka Rask is among the most relaxed and courteous players you’ll find on the Bruins, so on the rare occasion that he gets upset, it’s a must-see moment.
The Finnish goaltender provided one of those moments in Wednesday’s practice, when Patrice Bergeron scored on him during a special teams drill. A suddenly furious Rask swung his stick four times over his head as he attempted to break it over the crossbar. When he had no luck doing so, he skated over to the gate, forced it open, and threw his stick off the ice.
“We were just joking around, or I was just joking around,” Rask explained to WEEI.com Thursday. “I was half-mad. It was a penalty-killing [drill], so I was just joking around, trying to break my stick. I couldn’t break it.”
Rask, who became a YouTube sensation when he threw milk crates onto the ice after a shootout in Providence back in 2009, knew his mini-meltdown would get plenty of attention. As such, he wasn’t surprised when it became the biggest story of Wednesday’s practice.
“Obviously you guys [expletive] jump on it right away,” he said with a laugh.
Coach Claude Julien said after the practice Wednesday that “Tuukka has a temper,” but that the B’s don’t mind it. In fact, Rask’s teammates have had fun on the rare occasions that the mild-mannered Rask gets frustrated. Last season, Rask stormed off the ice late in practice, with Michael Ryder firing a slapshot through the door that hit him in the rear end as he left the ice. Wednesday saw more of that, as players got a kick out of his attempt to break his stick.
“We were practicing the power play and Tuuks couldn’t stop a beach ball. He decided to take it out on his stick,” Brad Marchand said Wednesday on Mut and Merloni. “It was funny, though, because he couldn’t break it. So, he ended up getting madder and madder. He was breaking his stick over the post and it wouldn’t break. The boys just kept laughing at him. It was pretty funny.”
Rask said Thursday that he didn’t mind the laughter, and that it establishes that such tirades are nothing too serious.
“We were just [joking] around. Guys were laughing,” he said. “It was real good.”
Who knows if and Rask will lose his cool again. Whenever it is, he can bet on it being both a big deal and a good source of light-hearted amusement for his teammates.