Rask comes up big as B's stop Sharks

Rask comes up big as B's stop Sharks
October 24, 2013, 11:30 pm
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Tuukka Rask bailed the Bruins out Thursday by making a season-high 38 saves vs. the Sharks.

(AP Photo)

BOSTON -- If there was ever a night the Bruins needed their goaltender, it was Thursday night.

Coming off a hard-fought victory in Buffalo on Wednesday night, the B's had to quickly turn it around and travel home to face a San Jose Sharks team that had been waiting in Boston for them since the day before.

Tuukka Rask hadn't played since Saturday. Chad Johnson made the start in Buffalo on Wednesday.

And once it was clear that the Bruins wouldn't be matching the Sharks' first-period intensity on Thursday night, it also became clear that Rask would have to save the day.

And he did just that, making a season-high 38 saves, leading the Bruins to a 2-1 win.

"I'm not going to stand here and say we were the better team tonight," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the game. "But we were the team that won.

"This is why Tuukka didn't play [Wednesday] night. We needed him fresh tonight .. . So, having a fresh goaltender, certainly helped."

The Bruins were out-shot 16-3 in the first period. Rask made all 16 saves.

"I just wanted to get a good start," said Rask. "Sometimes it's better when you face a lot of shots in the first period. You kind of get yourself in the game, if you're able to save the puck. It's more of a mental challenge, to force yourself to be awake and fully aware of what's going on out there. Luckily -- they had so many shots -- and I was able to save all of them in the first."

Rask saved all nine shots that he faced in the second period, and took a 1-0 lead into the third.

He allowed his first goal of the game 18 seconds into the third period, as Patrick Marleau put home a rebound at the left post, after Rask could not control a shot from the left point.

"They shot a lot from far away," said Rask. "It's a shot, it's a chance to go in. I haven't seen the scoring chances on the sheet yet, but I'm sure they had more than us. But then, I mean, 39-17 [shots], whatever it was, I don't think it tells the whole story."

He was being humble. Because it did tell the story. Rask stopped 38 of those shots. The game would have been over by the first intermission, had Rask not stood on his head and make big save after big save while the Bruins tried to find their legs and their rhythm.

The Bruins might have tried to credit their continuous "fight" on Thursday night. Still, that "fight" would have been meaningless had it not been for Rask.

"Well there’s no question that Tuukka played a really solid game tonight," said Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid. "He gave us a chance to win, kept us in there and made some big saves for us. There’s going to be nights where we’re going to need that, and without some of the saves he made, it could have been a different game. We tried to stick with it and we were able to get the result we wanted."