Rask finds his footing in shutout victory

Rask finds his footing in shutout victory
May 9, 2014, 12:15 am

MONTREAL -- Carey Price undoubtedly got the better of Tuukka Rask through the first three games of Boston-Montreal series, but the Bruins netminder finally got his revenge in Game 4 on Thursday night.

The B’s goalie made 33 saves while registering his first shutout of the series in a 1-0 overtime victory at the Bell Centre and finally looked like the Tuukka Rask who had been a cornerstone of the Bruins' success all year.

“The past couple of games had been pretty weird with a weird flow of the game, and they weren’t playoff intensity,” said Rask, who improved to 5-12-3 in his career against the Habs with a save percentage slightly over .900. “We really needed this win. We knew that. It seemed like we were a little nervous and were squeezing our sticks at times, so hopefully this win helps us.

“I always just try to play my game, and hopefully it’s good enough to get the win. Tonight I was able to get the shutout. I don’t know. I guess it’s good to get this here.”

Rask faced a couple of difficultt chances: a second -eriod partial breakaway from Brian Gionta that he turned aside, and a quick 1-2 combination stop on an Andrei Markov point blast followed by a Gionta rebound bid that he was able to stab with his glove. But he was at his best in the third period, making 14 saves as the Bruins got caught under a wave of Montreal’s speed attack.

The 33 saves allowed Rask to shoot up to a .916 save percentage for the series, and puts him back on equal footing after a slow start against a Montreal team that’s historically owned him.

Now he’s beaten the Habs a couple of times in the series, including a shutout in their vaunted building, and Rask has a defense in front of him that corrected all of the mistakes that doomed them in Game 3. There were no wide-open breakaways, no uncovered Habs players on the backdoor, and only a couple of “slot shots” to worry about.

“There were a couple of scrambles, but we did a pretty good job of clearing out pucks,” said Rask. “I either saved those pucks, or we were able to cover those rebounds. We tried to block some of those shots because if they shoot some of those floaters it could hit one of those sticks on the way to me, and then really go anywhere. Tonight was a great game for that.”

Not only that, but Rask was also loudly and very audibly slamming his stick to the ice as P.K. Subban was hopping out of the penalty box after a failed Bruins power play in the second period. The B's learned some hard lessons from a rough Game 3 loss and it appears their goaltender -- who failed to alert his teammates that a Subban penalty had expired in Game 3, leading to a breakaway goal -- did the same thing.

All were rewarded with a shutout of the Habs that silenced their fans, and sends the teams back to Boston tied at 2-2.