Amid losses, Rask sees 'comfort zone'

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Amid losses, Rask sees 'comfort zone'

WINNIPEG, MB. Tuukka Rask is still looking for answers, and still seeking his first win in more than a month.

The 24-year-old Finnish goaltender earned his first start since getting pulled against the Buffalo Sabres more than a week ago, but couldnt do enough to prevent his personal losing streak from reaching five games in a 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at the DTS Centre.
Rasks defense failed him in the final period when the Bruins collapsed after David Krejci managed to tie it in the opening minute of the third period, but the Bs netminder was admittedly far from good in the second.

He allowed four goals on the first 17 shots he faced in the game, and could have accepted fault on both Winnipeg scores in the second period. Rask has now allowed three or more goals in each of his last five appearances.

Alex Burmistrov started Winnipegs scoring by firing a puck from the right face-off circle that beat Rask while the Bs goalie made a futile swipe with his glove hand. The shot bounced Rasks water bottle straight off the top of the netting and immediately sent him into second-guess mode with the choice of glove save over a shrugging shoulder save attempt at the puck.

I saw it. It was a pretty good shot. I was more unhappy about the second one because it went through me, said Rask, referencing Blake Wheelers goal. The first one wasnt the hardest shot ever, but it caught me in a good spot. I used the wrong save selection there because I probably should have gone with a shoulder save.

I made a couple of good saves in the game, but its all about the timing I guess.

The real point of frustration for Rask was the Blake Wheeler goal that whistled through his leg pads on the way to the back of the net. The Bruins had won some measure of momentum back on Jordan Carons second-period goal, but Rask gave it right back with the soft goal surrendered to Wheeler.

That led to Krejcis game-tying score, and a pair of Bryan Little rebound strikes in the final period that handed the Jets a needed win.

The four goals leave Rask 0-4-1 in his last five games with an .855 save percentage and a goals against average over 3.00. Best of all, its coming at the worst possible time this season. The Bruins desperately need Rask to be effective as they reach the densest, road-heavy portion of their NHL schedule, but the confidence index in Rasks ability to stop pucks is rapidly eroding away with each underperformance.

Its always tough when you lose and youre trying to find your game. But you cant get down on yourself, said Rask. You just need to work hard and try to find that rhythm youre looking for. You need to find that comfort zone, but sometimes you just cant find it.

Its a tough battle but I think were going to come out as winners when it matters most.

Claude Julien admitted Rask needs to be better than he was Friday night in Winnipeg during the 21-save effort, but there were as many problems with irresponsible defenders breaking down in the third period.

I think weve seen Tuukka better. Everybody has to be better. The goaltender is the easiest one to criticize because hes the last guy standing there, said a frustrated Claude Julien, who answered two questions before ending his post-game session with reporters. Our goalies can be better as the rest of the team can.

While Julien can talk a good game about the ease of blaming a goaltender for a teams woes, actions will speak louder than words as they always do. The Bs coach will show exactly what kind of confidence he holds in Rask with the choice of his next starting assignment between the pipes.

The losing performance to the Jets didnt inspire much in the way of strong belief in Rask, but his coach still has a chance to augment it by going right back to him again on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild.

Charlie McAvoy tweeted he hates the Bruins 'so much' in 2013

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Charlie McAvoy tweeted he hates the Bruins 'so much' in 2013

Tweet hunters dug up an old message from a Charlie McAvoy proclaiming his hatred for the Boston Bruins. McAvoy, of course, was drafted 14th by the Bruins in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The tweet read, "I hate the bruins so much" before it was quickly deleted.

I'm sure this will go over well for Bruins fans, even though you really can't blame McAvoy. He was just 15 at the time and a fan of the Rangers, who went down 3-0 in the playoffs against the Bruins.

As fans, we can all relate to that feeling.

Bruins take BU defenseman Charlie McAvoy with the 14th pick in 2016 NHL Draft

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Bruins take BU defenseman Charlie McAvoy with the 14th pick in 2016 NHL Draft

BUFFALO – The Bruins took their highest-rated defenseman when the pick came to them at the No. 14 spot, and they selected Boston University defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who tore up Hockey East as the young player in college hockey last season.

The 18-year-old Charlie McAvoy had three goals and 25 points in37 games for the Terriers while skating in a pairing with Bruins prospect Matt Grzelcyk, and showed off the kind of elite skating and offensive skills that will play well at the NHL level. It was thought the Bruins would take McAvoy or fellow BU-recruit Dante Fabbro at the 14th spot when they held onto the pick, but that was perhaps shaken a little bit when Jakub Chychrun fell all the way down to their spot.

The Bruins stuck with their scouting instincts and took the offensively gifted McAvoy, who profiles as a next generation NHL player with his sturdy six foot, 208-pound frame and ability to skate like the wind. He was understandably excited, and even said that he’s come around from hating some of the Boston teams as a native New Yorker after spending the year at Boston University.

“I’m at a loss for words. It’s an unbelievable feeling, and I’m just so happy to be a part of the Bruins. I’ve gotten close to [the Bruins] in the past year. I’m sure some of my friends back home aren’t happy I’m cutting the ties with New York sports, but Boston is an unbelievable city with great sports and great people. I’m glad to be staying there,” said McAvoy. “You grow up and taught not to like [Boston teams] because of the rivalry. But I've got a Red Sox hat and that’s the first step. Now I'm got that Bruins jersey and it’s pretty cool. I’ll just keep going, but I don’t know if I could ever be a Pats fan, but we’ll see."

Give McAvoy a little time and perhaps he’ll come around to the right side of the New England Patriots argument after some years spent with the Black and Gold.  

Joe Haggerty can be followed on Twitter: @HacksWithHaggs

Canadiens acquire Andrew Shaw from Blackhawks

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Canadiens acquire Andrew Shaw from Blackhawks

By Tracey Myers, CSN Chicago

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Andrew Shaw had to wait until his third go-around in the NHL Draft before he was selected by the Blackhawks. Two Stanley Cups later, he became a big part of this group.

Like several before him, he said he wanted to stay here. Like several before him, it didn’t happen.

Shaw was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for two second-round selections, as the NHL Draft began on Friday. The forward was going to become a restricted free agent next Friday. And while both sides said they hoped to find a deal to keep Shaw in Chicago, the deal didn’t come.

The Blackhawks get two second-round picks the 39th and 45th overall selections in this draft.