Rask finally gets a confidence-building win

Rask finally gets a confidence-building win
February 5, 2014, 2:15 am
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Tony Amonte:'Tuukka was the man tonight'

BOSTON – Far too often lately, Tuukka Rask hasn’t been able to make the game-changing save.

But Rask -- who had a less-than-stellar .912 save percentage since Jan. 1 entering Tuesday night's matchup against the Canucks -- may have turned things around against Vancouver.

Not only did he make 27 stops in the 3-1 win over the Canucks, but he pulled off a pad save on a Daniel Sedin shorthanded breakaway that could have changed everything in the decisive second period. While he made a couple of other big stops, as well, none was as meaningful as stoning Sedin on a bid that could have tied the game, and then watching Jarome Iginla score a power-play goal in a big two-goal swing sequence that gave Boston a 2-0 lead. Even better, Rask saved the collective bacon of both Milan Lucic and Torey Krug, whose collision opened up a free path to the net for Sedin.

“Those are usually the momentum-changers and game-changers,” said Rask. “You want to make that save more often than not. Today, it was good that I did and we scored right after. That was really huge.

“We were kind of just curling around and being a little sloppy there and then fell apart there with a couple of guys colliding. You can’t be happy with that on a power play. [You’ve] got to be better than that.”

For coach Claude Julien, that play was a difference-maker in the game . . . and perhaps signaled that his No. 1 goaltender is finally starting to feel like himself again.

“There’s mistakes in games, and [the Lucic/Krug collision] was [a mistake]," he said. "We got a little bit sloppy on the power play and gave them a breakaway, but Tuukka makes a big save. It was a big turning point, so we can look at that one . . .

"[There's] a lot of things that happen in a game that you look back on and say, ‘That could have gone one way or another.’ [Rask's save was one] that could have given us a different outcome.”

Chad Johnson gave Rask a bit of a breather in starting four of the last eight games, and the understudy performed admirably. But Rask is ready, willing and able to continue forming the backbone of the B’s defense as long as he can get back to the confident, domineering place he was in earlier this season.

As with any other position in sports, swagger has a great deal to do with an individual’s success. That’s something Tuukka Rask had in large supply once again Tuesday night.