Julien: 'Tuukka has been Tuukka' to start season

Julien: 'Tuukka has been Tuukka' to start season
October 7, 2013, 9:15 pm
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WILMINGTON – Though the Boston Bruins are two games into the new hockey season, it looks like the same old Tuukka Rask of last year has shown up for duty without missing a beat.

The 27-year-old Finnish netminder had a workmanlike training camp while getting ready for the season, but has been shutting things down since stopping 15 shots in the first period opening night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In all Rask has stopped 57 of the 59 shots he’s faced against very good offenses in Tampa Bay and Detroit, which is good for a .966 save percentage and 1.00 goals against average.

Coming off a Stanley Cup Final run where Rask finished with a .940 save percentage and 1.88 goals against in 22 playoff games before inking an eight year deal that made him the highest paid goalie in the NHL at $7 million per season, he doesn’t look any less determined or motivated.

“The first [game] we killed those 5-on-3’s and they had more chances than I think Detroit did,” said Rask. “But I think as a team we got better from the first game to the game against Detroit. That’s a good example of how we need to play.”

The modest B’s goalie wouldn’t say it, but it’s also a very good example of exactly how he needs to play as well.

With such a spread schedule at the start of the season for the Bruins – the B’s are in the middle of four straight idle days between Saturday’s win over the Red Wings and Thursday night’s tilt against the Colorado Avalanche – don’t expect the Bruins to shy away from calling Rask’s number. It would be nice to get backup Chad Johnson some work, but it’s more important to Claude Julien that Rask get into a dominant rhythm to start the year.

“I use the term ‘Tuukka has been Tuukka.’ It means he’s been solid and played well. He’s made the big saves when we needed them,” said Julien. “That first game [against the Lightning] he did a good job holding us in there when we weren’t playing well.

“Tuukka only played a few games in the preseason, so [now] is an opportunity to really get a rhythm going for him. But at the same time you’ll want to use your other goalie. So we’ll really need to keep [Johnson] sharp in practice, and then work that part of the equation in when we see fit.”