Rask good, but not good enough for Bruins in Game 5

Rask good, but not good enough for Bruins in Game 5
May 11, 2013, 10:00 am
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(USA TODAY SPORTS)

BOSTON -- If there’s one Bruins player that should be above any blame for what happened in Game 5, its goaltender Tuukka Rask.

The Finnish netminder made 19 sparkling saves in the opening 20 minutes including a flashy glove save on Joffrey Lupul in the opening minutes, and was the only reason the game remained scoreless after the first period. But Rask couldn’t stop everything he saw, and that was ultimately his downfall on a night when his team simply didn’t have it while enduring a 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden.

The Bruins still lead the series by a 3-2 margin, but now the action shifts back to the Air Canada Centre for a Sunday night game that’s going to really push the Black and Gold out of their comfort zone.

“I think we just have to take [the desperation] with us to Toronto and start the game there like we finished here,” said Rask, who made 31 saves in defeat. “It’s really not good enough when you play 30 minutes out of 60 minutes in the playoffs and I think that’s what we have to learn from this and be ready for.”

There was zero desperation coming from the Bruins early in the game, and it fell to Rask to keep Boston in the game until the alarm clock finally went off midway through the second period. At that point the Bruins were down 1-0 as Andrew Ference fumbled a puck at the blue line on a power play that turned into a shorthanded breakaway goal for Tyler Bozak.

It seemed the Bruins realized at that point Rask wasn’t going to pitch a shutout if Boston kept making costly turnovers that turned into instant offense for the Maple Leafs. The second Leafs goal allowed was simply two substandard plays for the Bruins in a row: Johnny Boychuk couldn’t execute a good first pass out of the zone off the side boards, and then Nathan Horton exacerbated the situation by failing to skate after the puck or its interceptor when Clark MacArthur attacked the Boston zone.

“First period, we were in the game because of him. There’s no doubt there, he made all the saves,” admitted Claude Julien of Rask, who sits fifth among NHL playoff goalies with a .933 save percentage. “We’ve got to play three periods like we did in the third, spend more time in their end than in ours. [There was the] breakaway on the power play, and then the other one’s just a poor execution from the puck off the boards, to let a guy come in with some speed and just walk in.

“We didn’t give [Rask] much help on those, but he’s been fine. I think we have to look at ourselves from the crease out tonight, and see how we could have been better…it’s everybody. Our D’s [defensmen] weren’t very good at moving the puck in the first period, which took away some of our momentum. Our forwards certainly weren’t speeding, and when they did, they turned pucks over at the blue line instead of getting pucks in deep like we have most of this series.”

Rask has been one of Boston’s best performers throughout the playoff series against Toronto, but even he needs a little help from the rest of his teammates. That team assistance never arrived in Game 5 from a Boston team bound to do things the hard way in their playoff lives.