BOSTON -- If you were blaming Tuukka Rask for Thursday's Game 4 loss in New York, then be fair: He deserves a huge chunk of the credit for Saturday's Game 5, series-clinching win in Boston.
And why? His stoning of Ryan Callahan on a third-period breakaway that would have tied the game, that's why.
"Tuukka made a big save at the right time," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. "That's what you want from your goaltender. It was a little defensive breakdown [that allowed Callahan to sneak behind the Boston defense and break in alone on Rask], but Tuukka came up big for us."
So big, in fact, that the players awarded him the fatigue jacket they give to the teammate they deem to be the star of the game.
Callahan got loose about midway through the third period with the Bruins lead, 2-1. Rask stopped him with a blocker save on a backhand attempt that the goalie seemed to expect.
No thanks to goalie Bob Essensa, by the way.
"Our goalie coach told me after . . . I think it was Game 1 (EDITOR'S NOTE: It was Game 2) when [Callahan] scored on that breakaway, that he never goes backhand," said Rask. "So I was banking on him shooting, or keeping it on the forehand. But he went backhand and I just extended my leg and blocker there and got the save."
Henrik Lundqvist was the busier of the two goalies as the Bruins carried the play, particularly in the second and third periods, and that increased the pressure to Rask to be ready when New York attempted to break through. And he made sure he was prepared.
"You know something's going to happen. You [knew they were] going to throw everything they could at you and try to get that chance to tie the game. Today it happened to be a breakaway.
"I just wanted to make one or two big saves in the third and hopefully keep that lead, and today I succeeded."