B's absolve Rask of blame for defeat

B's absolve Rask of blame for defeat
November 25, 2011, 10:55 pm
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BOSTON -- Bruins coach Claude Julien seemed stunned.

He was taken aback by some of the questions from reporters following Boston's 3-2 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday afternoon at the TD Garden, which snapped the Bruins' 10-game winning streak. Especially questions that appeared critical of goaltender Tuukka Rask.

"There's no problem at all with Tuukka," said Julien, while on the defensive when fairly asked what he thought of Rask's performance in the shootout loss. "I thought he made some good saves, and we had some breakdowns. You look at the first goal, he doesn't have much of a chance on that.

"And the other one is a pretty skilled player, probably the highest skilled player in the league, in Pavel Datsyuk. And we didn't handle it well. We didn't have the layers. We let him walk in alone.

"It was a great game," added Julien. "And I thought Tuukka handled it well. He was good for us."

Rask may have been the one who allowed the shootout goal to Todd Bertuzzi that officially ended the Bruins' winning streak. But he wasn't the reason the B's won't be going for 12 wins in a row on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets.

Friday was Rask's fourth start in that 10-game win streak. His last was in a 2-1 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Garden last Thursday, when he stoned Antoine Vermette with a left pad save in the shootout to seal the deal and keep the streak alive.

Against the Red Wings, he wasn't as heroic. But everyone in the Bruins' dressing room agreed: Detroit isn't a team you want to face in a shootout.

"Unfortunately, the one thing you don't want to do against that team is get into a shootout," said Julien after the game. "You've got to respect that part of their roster."

Datsyuk went first for the Red Wings, and he scored. Rask then made a save on Jiri Hudler. But on Detroit's third and final shot, he couldn't stop Bertuzzi's nifty move of taking it wide right and cutting across the crease.

When asked if he got a piece of Bertuzzi's game-winning shootout goal, Rask said, "I don't know, I don't know. It don't matter, right?"

Nope. Didn't matter. Not one bit.

"Even if Tuukka stopped that last one, they had a lot more guys to come that are pretty dangerous, that hadn't been out there yet," said Julien. "So, that's the part that you've got to respect on their team. And unfortunately, we got to that stage where it was decided by individuals."

Friday's game could have been decided before the shootout -- in the B's favor -- if it weren't for Boston's mistakes on the defensive end that allowed the Red Wings to score two goals in regulation. Their second one came just 35 seconds after the Bruins tied the game at 1-1 in the second period, and it stemmed from a defensive breakdown that allowed Datsyuk to streak past Boston defense and step in all alone from the right circle.

Detroit's first goal was also the result of a similar defensive breakdown.

Both times, Rask had no chance.

"They're always a tough team to play against," said Rask. "They're really skilled, and they like to make those seam passes in the zone and find late guys and stuff like that. It's a challenging team to play against, but it's always a battle, right?"