Rask getting the start vs. Kings

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Rask getting the start vs. Kings

Both goaltenders shuffled off the ice with the rest of the Bruins team following morning skate, but Claude Julien went to the rare trouble of naming Tuukka Rask as his starting goaltender against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.

Rask was solid in relief of Tim Thomas with 11 saves in the third period of Saturdays win over the Blue Jackets a game many believed the young Finnish netminder would be starting anyway had the team not been dropped into a two-game losing streak. It doesnt hurt that Rask also boasts a .956 save percentage while allowing only three goals in three games during the month of December.

Combine his strong play with the fact Thomas has routinely owned the Ottawa Senators through his career, and has been particularly dominant at Scotiabank Place. Thomas is 20-8 with a 1.95 goals against average and a .936 save percentage along with six shutouts in 30 career games and Scotiabank place is the setting where Thomas has put together the most road wins (9) and shutouts (3) in his Bruins career.

That made it a fairly easy decision for Julien to tap Rask for the home game against the Western Conference opponent that just gassed their head coach, and leave Thomas for the divisional foe he routinely dominates.

Tuukka is in tonight and my goal obviously is use Timmy in there tomorrow, said Julien. Timmy has always played some great games in Ottawa, and it was a situation where we felt it was the right thing to do.

With Rask between the pipes, here is the rest of the expected lineup for the Bruins:

Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin
Lucic-Krejci-Horton
Pouliot-Kelly-Peverley
CaronPaille-Hamill-Thornton

Ference-Boychuk
Seidenberg-Corvo
Kampfer-McQuaid

Rask
Thomas

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

BOSTON –  For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics were hosting a team eager to get off a losing skid.

But a strong surge near the end of the second quarter gave the Celtics a 65-56 halftime lead over Portland which came into the night having lost four straight.

Boston opened with a 12-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder – his second within the game’s first couple minutes.

But the Blazers were being carried by C.J. McCollum, half of the most explosive backcourt in the NBA. His 12 first-quarter points were crucial to keeping the Blazers within 28-26 at the end of the quarter.

McCollum continued to out-perform everyone else on the floor, even Isaiah Thomas who had a quieter than usual first half.

But the 5-foot-9 Thomas continued to make all the plays needed to put the Celtics back on top courtesy of a 12-3 run that put them ahead 57-49 with 1:55 to play in the half.

From there, Boston was able to maintain control of the game.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

While there’s still talk about whether Damian Lillard will be an All-Star this year, McCollum has played well enough to where he’s at least worthy of a mention in the All-Star conversation. He certainly carried Portland in the first half with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

As usual, Thomas drew a considerable amount of attention from the opposing defense. And slowly but surely, he found cracks that he could exploit. At the half, he had 17 points, four assists and three rebounds, one of which was an offensive board that he put-back in for a lay-up.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He put the Celtics on a good path from the outset, knocking down a couple 3’s in the first couple of minutes. He finished the half with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting which included a trio of 3-pointers.

Meyers Leonard

He was 3-for-4 in the first half which included a pair of powerful dunks over Boston’s Jordan Mickey. At the half he had eight points and two rebounds.

 

DUDS

Damian Lillard

It was a rough half for the two-time All-Star, tallying just three points on 1-for-5 shooting. A big part of his problem? Foul trouble. He played just 10 minutes in the first half due in large part to having three personal fouls.