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Is Tuukka Rask snake-bitten? It sure looks that way 11.12.10 at 10:19 am ET
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It must be hard for Tuukka Rask right now.

His Bruins teammates got off to a red-hot start and his fellow netminder one stall over in the dressing room was off to one of the best starts in team history.

But after Thursday night’s 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Rask stands with an 0-4-1 record. How bad is it? He has more losses than games started.

When the Bruins came back to tie the Washington Capitals last Friday night, he came on in relief of Tim Thomas, only to allow the go-ahead goal and get charged with the loss. He has a 2.75 goals against average but his coach hasn’t lost faith because he believes Rask deserves a better fate.

“I don’€™t know if it’€™s at home, but I think it’€™s just overall,” Claude Julien said after Thursday’s latest setback. “It’€™s unfortunate, because so far, I don’€™t think we’€™ve played great in front of him. That first game in Prague, I think was our worst game ever so far this year. Tonight we weren’€™t a very good team in front of him. I thought he played well in St. Louis and took us into a shootout. But I don’€™t know that I would go after him and say that he’€™s not playing well. I think we need to help him out a little bit. When goalies find their groove, it’€™s because the team in front of him play maybe better than we have.”

He was respectable again on Thursday night, stopping 25-of-26 shots before a power play goal inside the first minute of the third period gave the Canadiens control.

Rask, who was the starter in the playoffs last year and figured to be this season after surgery to Tim Thomas, can’t seem to catch a break.

“Well, I think pros are pros and you can’€™t do everything for them,” Julien added. “That’€™s part of being a pro. You’€™ve got to be mentally strong, and you’€™ve got to fight through those things and the coach will always more or less always help them out, but he’€™s got to do his share to work through those things if confidence becomes an issue, but I don’€™t think he’€™s there.”

What does Rask think?

“That’€™s hockey, you know,” he said. “Try to do your best and save every puck and if you don’€™t get the bounce, you don’€™t, and if you do, just that’€™s great. Today there was more unlucky bounces again.”

Can’t blame him if it seems like he’s seen more than his fair share so far this season.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Montreal Canadiens, NHL
Bruins trail Blues, 1-0, after one period 11.06.10 at 7:47 pm ET
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The crowd cheered for what they thought was a Bruins goal, but by periods’ end it was only an ex-Bruin who had scored, and the B’s trail the Blues 1-0.

Vladimir Sobotka, traded to the Blues for David Warsofsky during the draft, picked up his first goal of the season late in the first period. Matt Hunwick was in a tough spot, trying to account for Sobotka and Alexander Steen. When poking the puck from Steen was just out of reach for Hunwick, Steen sent it to Sobotka, who had plenty of time to beat Rask.

Nathan Horton seemed to have his seventh of the year when he beat Halak low from the bottom of the circle at a tough angle, but the play was ruled no goal, The play was reviewed, with it being determined that the puck hit the post and never crossed the goal line.

The Bruins took a page out Friday’s book in the first period. After mustering just nine shots through the first two periods on Friday, the Bruins put only six shots on Blues netminder Jaroslav Halak. Rask stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced, and aside from a couple of juicy rebounds looked good.

Read More: Tuukka Rask, Vladimir Sobotka,
Tuukka Rask to start for Bruins vs. Blues at 6:30 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien said late Saturday afternoon that Tuukka Rask will be between the pipes for the B’s when they take on the Blues. Rask took the loss on Friday night in relief of Tim Thomas. The 23-year-old played the third period and saw the B’s come back from a 3-0 deficit against the Capitals before John Carlson scored the game-winner for Washington.

In two starts this season, Rask has allowed seven goals and taken a pair of losses. He is 0-3-0 after falling to the Capitals on Friday.

Former Canadien Jaroslav Halak, who has put together an outstanding start to his first season in St. Louis (7-1-1, 1.53 goals against average, .940 save percentage) will be in net for the Blues. The Blues have an impressive 16 points to start the season, but have gone just 1-1-2 on the road.

Here are the anticipated lines for the B’s:

Lucic ‘€“ Krejci ‘€“ Horton
Caron ‘€“ Bergeron- Recchi
Wheeler -Seguin- Ryder
Marchand ‘€“ Campbell- Thornton

Chara ‘€“ Ference
Hunwick ‘€“ Seidenberg
Stuart ‘€“ McQuaid

Rask
Thomas

Read More: Tuukka Rask,
Mike Milbury on D&H: ‘What goes on in the mind of Tuukka Rask?’ 11.03.10 at 1:03 pm ET
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NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins and league news. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Most of the discussion focused on the Bruins’ goaltending situation, with Tim Thomas handling the bulk of duties while promising youngster Tuukka Rask sits.

Said Milbury: “It’s a happy problem, but you wonder what goes on in the mind of Tuukka Rask under these circumstances. I was talking to Kelly Hrudey last week, the Hockey Night in Canada analyst with me, and he said, ‘He may not know it, but this could be the best thing to happen to Rask. He’s got to earn that right to be called the No. 1. It’s not always easy and it’s not always a given.’ And he’s right. I’m sure Tuukka Rask doesn’t really look at it that way, but in some ways, it’s not a bad thought. Rask has to continue to compete. It keeps him sharp. The question is, When does he get the chance to go again?”

Added Milbury: “I think we mentioned last week, the schedule’s been so uneven. They’ve got to get into a rhythm at some point. And at that point, I think because of the way Thomas plays, although he’s been fairly compact and economical through the first part of the season, he still has a tendency to want to explode out and dive here and there. It will take its toll, and they’ll need Rask. And Rask will have his chance then. But who saw this coming?”

Milbury said he’s not aware that Thomas was close to being dealt last season. “I never heard anything that anything was imminent,” Milbury said. “I think there were a lot of people kicking tires, but they weren’t kicking them as hard as they would be if they were shopping him right now, I would think. He had an uneven season, and he had a bunch of years left on his contract, and he’s always been looked on as, ‘I can’t believe he’s doing this.’ There seems to be some degree of incredulity that he can make this thing happen. But he does. He does through his competitiveness and his athleticism, and his mindset.”

Milbury said the Bruins might have to consider moving Thomas, but only if an enticing trade offer is made.

“It would be interesting to see if they shopped him around, and he’d be willing to be traded, if that would bring A) cap relief and B) fill a hole someplace else, i.e., the blue line, where they’re thinner than I’d like them to be,” Milbury said, adding: “I don’t think there’s going to be any talk of that. I think things are so good right now for the Bruins, that if Peter Chiarelli is looking for cap relief, he’s probably going to look in a different direction. And I certainly don’t blame him. It would be a really gutsy move to make that deal, and if somebody came with a sweetheart of a deal, you’d have to take a look at it, knowing that Rask played as well.”

Read More: Mike Milbury, Peter Chiarelli, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask
Video: Tim Thomas named No. 1 star of the week 11.01.10 at 1:32 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was named the NHL’s No. 1 star of the week on Monday. Thomas made 49 saves in two starts over the course of the week, winning games over the Maple Leafs and Senators in shutout fashion.

On the season, Thomas, 36 has allowed just three goals in winning all six of his starts, leading the NHL in goals against average (0.50), save percentage (.984) and shutouts (3). In 43 games last season, Thomas posted a 2.56 GAA with a .915 save percentage and five shutouts.

Thomas said that the last time he felt as dominant as he currently does was back during the lockout, when he posted five shutouts in a span of 10 games. His coach felt he was undoubtedly deserving of the distinction.

“We’re definitely happy to see him play that way every night,” Claude Julien said. “It gives us a chance to win, and we know how important goaltending is in this league, and he’s provided us with an outstanding one.”

Here’s the video of Thomas discussing the honor, his hot start, and wondering whether  “Tiny” was actually Cecil Thompson‘s name.

Read More: Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask,
Tim Thomas to start for Bruins vs. Senators 10.30.10 at 11:46 am ET
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Tim Thomas did not participate in the Bruins’ optional morning skate in Ottawa on Saturday, but Claude Julien told reporters that the 26-year-old netminder will be in goal for the B’s when they take on the Senators on Saturday night.

Thomas has won all five of his starts this season, allowing just three goals in the process. He currently leads the NHL with a 0.60 goals against average and a .981 save percentage, while tying for the league lead with two shutouts. Tuukka Rask, who started the season-opener in Prague, has lost each of his two starts this season.

Read More: Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask,
Mike Milbury on D&C: ‘Don’t throw Tuukka in the 2-hole now’ 10.27.10 at 2:31 pm ET
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NESN hockey analyst Mike Milbury joined the Dale & Holley show Wednesday for his weekly hockey update and discussion of other hot topics regarding the Bruins. Milbury also talked about the latest debate, which has been the goaltender situation thus far in the season.

“It’s how to handle both of them, not just Tuukka [Rask],” Milbury said. “I don’t throw Tuukka in the 2-hole now just because [Tim] Thomas has had a good start. It looks like they’re going to battle for the top spot, and I think one of the things … is the schedule. I mean, they go overseas, they play two games, they get basically a full week off, they played three more and then they get four days off. There’s no rhythm for any of their players, not just the goaltenders.”

Following are highlights from the conversation. To hear the entire interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Can we assume the hype we saw last night in Boston won’t be matched, but will at least be evident as Phil Kessel returns to the Garden with the Maple Leafs tomorrow night?

Yeah, it’ll be fun, and the Maple Leafs are winning their share of games, so it should be competitive. They’re not trading on the back end. I mean, they’re supposed to be strong on the blue line, but they’ll, they cough it up regularly, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities to score. [Jean-Sebastien] Giguere‘s been backstopping the goals against, so it’s been OK, but they’re a vulnerable team, but at least they’re playing with some vinegar, and so it should be a pretty good matchup.

If each goaltender starts roughly 40 games, what’s the best way to handle two goaltenders, and Tuukka, who’s been shaky lately?

That’s a great question. I mean, it’s how to handle both of them, not just Tuukka. I don’t throw Tuukka in the 2-hole now just because Thomas has had a good start. It looks like they’re going to battle for the top spot, and I think one of the things, before I try to answer that question, that has conspired against Rask and Thomas is the schedule. I mean, they go overseas, they play two games, they get basically a full week off, they played three more and then they get four days off. There’s no rhythm for any of their players, not just the goaltenders.

But once they get into the need of their schedule, you know, I think there’s plenty of room to let a guy run two, three or even four games in a row. But if you really want to keep the party going in terms of competition, once you get into five and six games in a row for one guy, you’re asking much from the other guy to just bounce back and be excellent in his first start.
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Read More: Boston Bruins, Mike Milbury, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask

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