While the Bruins’ 6-0 road trip was a big boost for the entire hockey club, no individual player benefited from the trip more than goaltender Tuukka Rask
Before the B’s headed out on the road, Rask had collected just five wins in 18 appearances. But over the course of the six-game trip, Rask picked up four victories including back-to-back wins against the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators on Feb. 17-18.
Last night, Rask recorded his second shutout of the season, blanking the Senators 1-0 in Scotiabank Place.
“I mean it’s the sixth game on the road and we were battling. Not to make any excuses, but I think the guys were tired and we didn’t have the legs and we didn’t have the jump the last two game and it’s obvious,” Rask said of the win. “But it’s always a grind and we can’t quit. You have to battle through and today we did.”
Despite stopping 33 shots, including a late barraging from the Senators in the final minute of the one-goal game, Rask said he didn’t feel he played up to the level he’s capable of.
“I was just jumping around on some shots,” he said. “I was kind of running around there.
“But we got the job done and six on the road is a great thing.”
After struggling through the majority of the season thus far, Rask’s recent high-quality performances have given the Bruins No. 1 goaltender, Tim Thomas
, a chance to catch up on his rest with just 19 games left in the regular season.
Having two fresh goaltenders that are both at the top of their game could be a key factor as Boston looks to makes an extended run towards the Stanley Cup this spring.
Rask allowed just seven goals in his four starts during the road trip. Couple his performance with Thomas’ two wins (two goals against) and the Bruins are back on top of the league in goaltending with a combined 2.25 GAA.
No matter Rask’s feelings about his own play last night, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien is pleased with the Finnish goaltender’s performance over the course of the road trip, and is hoping the wins give Rask some confidence moving forward.
“For him it’s great,” Julien said of the shutout. “He’s had a tough start to the season and the win/loss column has not been in his favor but lately he’s been doing a lot better.
"[He’s] catching up in regards to the win/losses and obviously his game is getting better. And the shutout for him tonight was something that I’m sure is going to help his confidence.”---Hannah Becker