Rask's struggles against Montreal persist

Rask's struggles against Montreal persist
December 6, 2013, 10:45 am
Share This Post

Against the Kings, Tuuka Rask was pulled for the third time in the past 10 games.

(AP Photo)

MONTREAL – Tuukka Rask was at a loss to explain it following another loss to the Montreal Canadiens, but the numbers tell a pretty complete story. The Finnish netminder has been excellent the last two seasons, but he’s had a very difficult time beating the Habs in any environment. With Boston’s 2-1 loss to the Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Thursday night, Rask’s career record vs. the Habs dropped to 2-9-2 along with a 2.77 and .903 save percentage in 14 emotion-packed divisional games.

By contrast, Carey Price is 17-8-3 with a 2.50 goals against average and a .919 save percentage and continued to show his worth while stopping 32-of-33 shots in the Thursday win over the Black and Gold. Price was at his best in the third period when the Bruins threw the kitchen sink at him in a one-goal game, and Rask wasn’t very good when the B’s sagged in front of him during the second period.

He did make 25 saves in the game and only gave up two goals while facing one of the hottest teams in the NHL, but it wasn't good enough to win. That's all that really matters to both Rask and the rest of the Bruins.

The first goal was a poor angle taken by Rask on Tomas Plekanec, who had plenty of net to shoot at before lifting a shot over the goalie’s glove hand to the short side. The second goal was a rebound that kicked right up the middle of the ice to a waiting Max Pacioretty, who buried it past the sprawled out Rask.

“Goals get scored. I didn’t adjust my angle, and I gave [Plekanec] too much net to shoot at. If you look at the way we played the second period, you can’t be happy with that,” said Rask. “It’s just weird how we do it sometimes. We turn it on and off like that. I felt like they had a couple of shots, and I gave them some rebounds there.

“They didn’t score, but they got the crowd into it and went from there. You always want to play a perfect game as a goalie and not give them an inch, but I think they got a little too much momentum going into the second period.”

Afterward Rask was certainly shouldering his portion of the blame, and searching for answers about what exactly goes wrong for him in Montreal.

“It would be nice to win, obviously. I’ve played some bad games against these guys, and I’ve played some good games. It’s just not good enough to win,” said Rask. “It doesn’t matter. You want to win every game. It’s just the record doesn’t show how things are with Montreal.”

Considering that Washington is the only team that Rask features worse numbers against in the Eastern Conference, the motivation should be there for the Finnish netminder to start standing on his head every time the hated rivals from Montreal take the ice against him.