Rask: 'I haven't been awful' in consecutive losses

Rask: 'I haven't been awful' in consecutive losses
March 24, 2013, 3:00 pm
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Tuukka Rask was not a finalist for the Vezina Trophy this year despite sharing the lead for shutouts with 5 and being in the top 3 in save pct.

(USA Today Sports)

BOSTON -- Tuukka Rask is a confident, passionate kid. Like any motivated professional athlete, the Bruins' goaltender doesn't want to wait nearly a week to have an opportunity to bounce back from two consecutive losses.

Still, that's what has happened to the team's No. 1 goaltender.

After losses in Pittsburgh and Winnipeg, in which he only allowed two goals in each game, Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to roll with Anton Khudobin for two straight games, only to throw Rask back into the fire on Saturday night in the third period of the loss in Toronto, while trailing 3-0.

So what's his confidence like right now?

"We'll see," said Rask after practice Sunday at the TD Garden. "I mean, I like to play every game, obviously. But I didn't take it too personally. I mean, I've played good games, I realize that. There's some tough losses there, I let up two goals to Pittsburgh and Winnipeg. We lose the games, but I wasn't awful. So it shouldn't break my confidence."

The words "but I wasn't awful" says it all.

Rask, 26 -- a restricted free agent at season's end -- was then asked to evaluate his own performance last week. He had already teased his response with, "I wasn't awful."

"Well, I played one game in the last week, against Winnipeg," said Rask on Sunday. "We lost 3-1. I let in two goals in the third period. I'm not blaming myself for those goals. But, still, we're up 1-0, and it would be nice to at least get a point out of that. But, I don't think I've been awful, if that's what you're trying to say."

So while Julien -- before a legitimate cool-down period, mind you -- felt the need to call for more "timely saves" from Rask immediately after the loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday, Rask agreed on Sunday with that notion. Only, he doesn't necessarily agree that the second goal he allowed in Winnipeg was his fault. Nor should he, as Evander Kane was as wide open as you could get out front of an NHL net.

Regardless of how each party feels about that specific game, Rask will get his opportunity to shine again. And he'll most likely get that on Monday night at home against the Maple Leafs.

It might be a little more time off than he'd like in between starts, but Julien also pointed out on Sunday that he's keeping an eye on the team's relentless schedule while making goaltending decisions.

"When I anticipated this week coming up, Tuukka would have lots of opportunities to play," said Julien. "So it was more based on what I saw coming up, and not his play. Unfortunately, it didn't pan out that way, and Tuukka went in there [Saturday] and I thought he was solid with the shots that he got in that third period."

Spooner back to Providence: Forward Ryan Spooner has been assigned back to the Providence Bruins of the AHL after being called up March 18. Spooner has played four games this season with Boston and totaled four shots on goal. He has 15 goals and 37 assists in 58 games with the P-Bruins.