Howard outduels Rask in Game 1

Howard outduels Rask in Game 1
April 19, 2014, 12:00 am
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BOSTON - The Bruins will put their goalie up against any other team's goalie on any night.

But in Game 1 of the Bruins-Red Wings series, it was Detroit's Jimmy Howard who came out ahead of Tuukka Rask.

Howard stopped all 25 saves that came his way Friday night as the Wings took a 1-0 win and 1-0 series lead.

For Howard, it was his third career playoff shutout, and first on the road. It's also the first time Boston has been shut out in a post-season game since Roberto Luongo shut out the B's, 1-0, on June 10, 2011 in the Stanley Cup Final.

Howard benefitted from a strong showing by his defensemen, but he still had to buckle down and make more than a couple key saves.

The biggest came just before Detroit scored their lone goal of the gam late in the third period. Jarome Iginla fired one in front of the net where Milan Lucic was streaking in for the tip. Lucic got a stick on the puck, but Howard's glove got a piece of the puck and it went just wide of the net. Seconds later, the Wings' Pavel Datsyuk would burry the game-winner.

"It was a fortunate save, it was pretty lucky," Howard said. "I forget who it was that lobbed it in but he stuck his stick out and got a lot on it and it just sort of spun my glove and I was just able to get enough on it, I was pretty lucky."

Maybe luck had something to do with it, but being in the right place and being quick with the glove has more to do with skill than luck. Rask didn't have the same "luck" on the opposite end after Howard's save. He recalls seeing Datsyuk coming down the ice.

"Well he was by himself there and so I’m just thinking a shot and he drags it across and releases from his legs," Rask said. "You just try to get the puck in your eyes and I couldn’t. Usually he tries to make a pass, but I thought he was by himself there."

But Howard or Rask didn't have to stand on their heads all game. For Detroit, defensemen like Brendan Smith and Niklas Kronwall on the first line did a great job in limiting the B's time on the attack.

"Well we have to, I don’t think we have a choice," Howard said. "They are so hard on the forecheck and they are big and physical and they can put guys through the boards they are so big, so we don’t really have a choice, we have to get out there and execute fast."

Detroit showcased its speed most in the second period, they seemed to beat the Bruins to the puck and kept the puck in the B's zone often. But when Boston needed to clamp down, they did.

"Yeah you know in the second period they had some offensive zone time there," Rask said, "but we made some really good blocks, not just the point shots but actual good chances."

But neither Zdeno Chara or Dougie Hamilton, both on the ice for Detroit's goal, could get in the way of the puck. Wings forward Justin Abdelkader set the screen, and Rask was blind to the shot.

"Tuukka [Rask] is a great goalie and we are going to have to keep finding ways to go to the net and get screens in front of his eyes, because if he sees it, he’s going to stop it," Howard said.

Rask had a feeling it would come down to one goal as the game progressed - and he was right, unfortunately.

"Yeah that’s what it looked like for most part of the game," Rask said. "There were not a ton of scoring chances and you kind of get that feeling that the one goal is going to be enough and today was them, too bad for us."