BOSTON -- Claude Julien had a few words of advice for goalie Tuukka Rask after the final horn sounded Saturday night at TD Garden, officially sending the Boston Bruins off to the Eastern Conference Finals.
"You can start laughing now," Julien said, repeating the words he told Rask.
Talk about relief for Rask -- and one pretty darn comical memory from the conference semifinals against the New York Rangers.
It was Rask's gaffe in the second period of Game 4 that gave the Rangers momentum and the belief that maybe, just maybe they could do the same thing to Boston that the Philadelphia Flyers did four years ago -- win four straight games after losing the first three.
Rask fell on his rear end -- "Butt Stumble" is what they're calling in it Boston, a play off the "Butt Fumble" from the New York Jets-New England Patriots game last fall -- and Carl Hagelin's wonky, wobbling, deflected backhanded shot went trickling past him to bring the Rangers within 2-1 at 8:39 of the second period Thursday night.
The Rangers found their legs and some life after that goal and went on to win the game 4-3 in overtime to send the series back to Boston on Saturday.
But Rask got, ahem, the last laugh, with 28 saves in a 3-1 series-clinching victory at TD Garden. His best stop came on Ryan Callahan's breakaway with 8:38 left in the game and Boston hanging on to a 2-1 lead.
"As a goalie you expect to make one or two big saves and [Saturday] it happened," Rask said. "I didn't feel bad about myself after Game 4. Obviously there was a little screw up there with that goal, but I didn't let that bother me. I felt like I played a decent game after that. Coming in [Saturday], I just wanted to be rock solid back there and give our team a chance to win the game."
Despite the stumble in Game 4, Rask kept his team in every game in this series. He finished the series with a 2.05 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.
Rask also got the better of Henrik Lundqvist, who was superb in his own right despite getting little in the way of help. Lundqvist had a .916 save percentage and 2.98 GAA.
"I'm sure it was on the top 10 not-hot plays of the day," Bruins left wing Milan Lucic said of Rask's stumble. "I definitely think we can laugh about it a lot more now that the series is over."