Hard-luck loss for Rask vs. Avs

Hard-luck loss for Rask vs. Avs
October 10, 2013, 11:30 pm
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Tuukka Rask watches an Avalanche shot hit the post in the third period.

(AP Photo)

BOSTON -- If not for Tuukka Rask, Thursday night could have looked a whole lot worse for the Bruins.

The result was a 2-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the TD Garden. The second goal came with 25.7 seconds left in the game. It was an empty-netter from Matt Duchene.

That means Rask allowed just one goal, the same amount of goals that he allowed in each of his previous two games to help the Bruins to a 2-0 record to begin the season.

On Thursday night against the Avalanche, only one goal allowed just wasn't enough to lead the B's to their third win.

The difference came in the first period, with 39.3 seconds left in the first period, as Ryan O'Reilly re-directed an Andre Benoit shot from the point on an Avalanche power play.

Colorado went into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead, but it probably should have been worse than that.

"Yeah, he did great," said Bruins defenseman Torey Krug after the loss. "Tuukka was Tuukka. He showed up and he made the saves that he needed to, to put us in a position to win the game. Unfortunately we didn't have anything to back him up, offensively. But he was great."

The Avs had 14 shots on net in the first period. And they came early and often. The speed coming from Colorado's forwards from the opening face-off was somewhat overwhelming.

"They skate hard, they have some skill up front, and especially in the first, we were really taking it from them," said Rask afterwards. "Got to give them credit. Really good team."

Still, Rask's efforts in the first period prevented the game from getting out of hand. His biggest stop coming on a Nathan MacKinnon one-timer from the right circle, after he received a pass from the slot. It forced Rask to go right-to-left, and he just barely got his left toe on the puck to make the stop in the opening minutes.

"We didn't really play well in the first," said Rask. "They came in from the neutral zone really quick and got those chances, kind of like half breakaways and then some looks on the power play. But after that I think we got better, and we limited their chances after the first.

"I just think we weren't skating," added Rask. "They broke our forecheck, and then their wingers were coming 100 miles an hour and our D was just standing their with nobody supporting them. So it's kind of tough for them to do anything to stand out and cut the speed away when you have no back-up. So I think we were just not skating fast enough in the first, but then we adjusted after that and limited their chances off the rushes."

Had the Bruins finished on any of their offensive opportunities on Thursday night, Rask would have been the hero. Instead, he picked up his first loss on a night in which he had his "A" game, and the rest of the team came out flat.

"There's no doubt, when you play you get on a roll, there's no doubt about that," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the loss. "And we had been off for five days, and it showed in that first period. We were a little bit rusty. But those aren't excuses. Those are facts. You've got to overcome those things.

"I thought our first period showed that we hadn't played in a while, and it took us some time to get our game going."