Rask loses battle of goaltenders in Winnipeg

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Rask loses battle of goaltenders in Winnipeg

WINNIPEG It wasnt a bad outing at all for Tuukka Rask.

The Bruins backup goaltender stopped 33 shots and was spectacular through portions of the third period while he held the Winnipeg attack at bay, but the moral of the story was that the young netminder was one mistake worse than Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec in a 2-1 loss at the MTS Centre.

Rask was forced into being spectacular if he wanted to win, but he was instead very good behind a team that couldn't score enough going for him.

It was a well-played game from both sides. They definitely played us hard. Both goaltenders were outstanding and Rask did a great job of making saves to keep us in the game at times, said Claude Julien. I thought he was good. When you dont play on a regular basis youve got to give him a chance to get into it. He made some unbelievable saves at the end to keep us in there.

The other goaltender was very good at the other end as well, so it was a good goaltender battle tonight.

There were defensive breakdowns by Joe Corvo in front of the net in both goals surrendered by Rask in defeat, but there was some level of culpability on the Bs goalies part as well. The first goal came off an Andrew Ladd rush down the left side of the ice that saw Corvo back way off the attacker giving him plenty of time and space to measure his shot.

Ladd fired a short side up high that completely fooled Rask and put the Bruins into a hole. Perhaps Rask was rusty, given the length of time since his last start, but it was surely a stop that hed like to have back.

You could tell we werent as fresh or sharp as we have been lately, said Rask. But we had plenty of chances and Pavelec played a great game. A loss is always a loss and we just need to move forward now.

Thats the way things stayed for the remainder of two periods through some heavy offensive threats by Ladd, Evander Kane and the hustling Jim Slater, but Boston finally broke through with a little offense for Rask in the third period.

Thornton redirected a puck thrown by Daniel Paille at the net, and gave Boston a whiff of potential victory. Unfortunately things opened right back up for Winnipeg. The Jets went right on the power play due to a David Krejci roughing penalty, and Bryan Little cruised through to finish off a face-off victory with a game-winning goal from the backhanded to the forehand.

Rask was protecting pass in front on the 2-on-1 rush led by Little, and the Winnipeg forward pushed a shot through the five-hole to the delight of frenzied home crowd for the Jets. The Bruins still had most of the third period and Milan Lucic had a handful of golden chances including one shot that bounced off the helmet of Pavelec in front of the net but Rask and Boston ended up falling in a defeat that dropped his personal record to 4-4-1 on the season.

It looked like it was going to be a one-goal game all the way to the end, said Rask. We played a pretty good game, but you cant win them all right? I hate losing, but you win some and you lose some. Youve just got to shake it off.

The Bruins will shake things off Thursday night with a showdown against an upstart Florida Panthers team serving as yet another Eastern Conference challenge for the reigning champs.

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want. 

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.