There’s more than a chance that Tuukka Rask knows exactly what Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer has been going through over the past five months.
Reimer was the puck-stopper that saw three shots sneak past him in the final 10:42 of the third period in Game 7 to blow a three-goal lead to the Boston Bruins in a first-round stunner last spring.
The final two goals arrived for Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron in a 31-second span before Bergeron capped it off with the overtime winner that finished off the stunning comeback, or collapse, depending on which city you hail from. Reimer weathered plenty of criticism for the Leafs’ collapse, and watched Toronto GM Dave Nonis trade for the Kings’ Jonathan Bernier over the summer.
Both Reimer and Bernier have been equally excellent to start this season, but Rask knows what it’s like to deal with a stunning, sudden defeat. People forget that it was the young Finnish netminder between the pipes when the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead in a seven-game series against the Philadelphia Flyers, and it was Rask that allowed two goals in 17 seconds to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Cup Finals when Boston finally succumbed to the better team in Game 6.
So, Rask might just be a good place for Reimer to lean on for advice if the two goalies actually had each other’s cell phone numbers (which they don’t).
“It sucks, but then again you can’t blame yourself too much. You’ve got to go over the goals,” said Rask, who is expecting to face down Reimer Saturday night in Boston. “If you feel like you sucked, then you just have to deal with it. But I don’t think it was his fault that they lost.
“There’s really nothing you can do about it afterward. So you just go over it for a day or two, and you talk about it. Then you just move on. That’s pretty much all that you can do.”
Rask has clearly moved on from the defeat at the hands of the Blackhawks with a 1.68 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage in 13 games this season, and he’s expecting Reimer will do the exact same when he returns to the TD Garden on Saturday night.