Rask battles, allows B's to stage comeback win

Rask battles, allows B's to stage comeback win
April 25, 2014, 9:30 am
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DETROIT – Tuukka Rask gave up two goals in the first period of Game 4 after only giving up two goals in the first three games of the best-of-seven series against the Red Wings. But that first period on Thursday night was also probably his best stretch of work in the entire series as he made 13 saves while a frenetic Red Wings attack stormed in wave after wave on the Boston net.

That was one of the big keys in a 3-2 overtime win for the Black and Gold with Jarome Iginla scoring the winner with less than seven minutes to go in the extra session.

“We weathered the storm in the first period,” said Rask. “They had a step on us definitely, and got the lead. But I think we got better as the game went along, and we got rewarded.”

He made a stop on Henrik Zetterberg from the high slot early in the first period, and then stood tall on a Justin Florek double-minor after the Wings had busted through with a screened Niklas Kronwall point shot to open the scoring. Rask never saw that puck through the big body of Todd Bertuzzi, but saw plenty after that while stopping the other 10 shots in a stretch where the Red Wings outshot the Bruins by an 11-3 margin.

“I thought we had a real good push at the start,” said Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. “I thought Rask was good, and we could have been up [by more goals] after one, but we weren’t and they stuck with it.

“They really crashed the net a lot, and had a lot of screens. They were really physical. It was the best of them that we’ve seen. You just have to battle, and I thought we did a pretty good job in the end.”

Rask followed up that astounding first period by shutting down the Red Wings the rest of the way as his teammates attempted to climb back into the contest. The Finnish goalie knew he couldn’t let in that third goal of the night, and instead he came up with a stunning, stretching glove save on Tomas Tatar on a loose puck in front of the net in the second period.

The Bruins started taking control of the game in the third period and overtime while tying the game on a Milan Lucic goal, and Rask stuffed a Jonathan Abdelkader breakaway right at the start of overtime. Boston dominated the rest of the way before a bouncing puck made the Jarome Iginla tip of a Dougie Hamilton point shot the winning margin when it shot past Jonas Gustavsson for the game-winner.

“They got the breakaway early, but after that we took over,” said Rask. “It was one of those things where you’re just hoping we score because it looks like we’re getting the chances. You’re just hoping to get that lucky bounce.”

There’s nothing lucky about Rask, who is trailing just Darcy Kuemper among playoff goalies with a .966 save percentage and sporting a 0.96 goals against average for the Black and Gold in a series where the Bruins have allowed four Red Wings goals in four playoff games.