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Rask, Road Mentality Giving Bruins Success

Rask now 10-1-0; Bruins improve to 7-3-0 on road

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins /

DENVER - In a span of 24 hours, the Bruins swiftly picked up four points with back-to-back wins over the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche. 


With the 2-1 and 2-0 wins, they improved to 7-3-0 on the road. 


Tuukka Rask improved to 10-1-0 on the season, with a 1.54 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage. 


In Sunday's 2-0 win over the Avalanche at Pepsi Center in Denver, Rask made 20 saves to earn his third shutout of the season and the 33rd of his career. 

"That's been Tuukka this year," Head Coach Claude Julien said following the win. "That's been the story of Tuukka Rask. He's been solid since the start of the season, and he's given us a chance to win every night."


David Krejci scored the eventual game-winner at 9:30 into the first period, firing his second of the season past Semyon Varlamov after a setup from linemates David Backes and Ryan Spooner.  


The 1-0 score stood throughout the game until Dominic Moore added an empty-netter with 28 seconds to go for the 2-0 final.


Video: BOS@COL: Krejci fires wrist shot past Varlamov in 1st


Krejci wasn't surprised by his netminder's solid play between the pipes. 


"Can't say enough about that guy, he's been really good so far, keeping us in the game every single game," Krejci said of Rask. "Sometimes you only one or two goals to win the game, so it's good to see him playing that well. Hopefully he can keep it up."


Less than 24 hours prior, Rask made 31 saves en route to the Bruins' 2-1 victory over the Coyotes. 


"[Claude] asked me last night how I felt, I said "all right," and that was it," said Rask. 


While the goaltender has been a steady and calm presence for the Bruins, he was quick to give credit to the team in front of him. 


"I think a lot of it is how we've played," said Rask. "I think we've played so solid for the most part that it obviously helps a lot for a goalie when I can see those pucks and then they keep teams on the outside, so I think those two things are probably the biggest."


The Bruins outshot the Avalanche 46-20 overall, and had a 24-6 shots advantage in the second period alone. 


Even with a tilted margin like that, the Avs' speed can strike at any time. 


"I can't recall any real breakdowns for us," said Rask. "We kept them to the outside and really limited their scoring chances and rushes, and then we kept the puck in the offensive zone and made some plays and created chances, so we've got to be really happy with that."


"It was a tight game, we could [have extended] the lead, but that's all right, and we sealed the deal at the end."


Julien was impressed by his team's approach to the back-to-back. It doesn't matter where teams are in the standings - traveling out West for two quick games and facing the change in altitude in Denver is not easy. 


The Bruins found plenty of energy on Sunday to pick up their first win in the second game of back-to-back this season. 


"I thought we played well," said Julien. "The little details were there, we were conscientious in making sure we did the right things in order to win this game."


"They're a quick team, they've got a lot of speed and they were rested and we had to make sure we played a real smart game. I thought our work ethic, our decision-making for the most part, was pretty good."


The biggest improvement going forward will be for the Black & Gold to find ways to convert on all of the chances they're creating. 


"The biggest thing is we've got to start getting rewarded for those kind of efforts and that kind of dominance," said Julien. "It was still a 1-0 game there after the second, so hopefully the goals will follow, and if we keep doing the right things here, they will."


"I think guys are creating opportunities, which is great to see," said Brad Marchand, who fired five shots on Varlamov, with another two shots missing the mark and two more being blocked. "You know, we're all starting to find chemistry with our lines and we're building on that every game."


"You can tell each line's getting better every game and we're generating more opportunities, more shots, and that's what you have to do in this league - you have to throw pucks to the net, and good things will happen."


With the win, the Bruins started their road trip 2-0 and have won four of their past five games. They also went 4-2-0 during a busy week of six games in nine days, a stretch that Julien has referenced. 


"I thought the guys showed a lot of energy, and even in the room, they seem to be really alive and talking and determined to win this game and I just liked our whole attitude and our whole approach to this stretch that we've just been through," said Julien. "I can't say we played too many bad games in that six in nine nights, so pretty happy with the way these guys are handling it so far."


The Bruins have played 10 of their first 16 games of the season on the road, and have made the most of it.


"We embraced it, is what we did," said Julien. "Right from the get-go, we saw what we had and we said, this is a great chance, a great opportunity for our guys to bond."


"We've got a lot of new faces in our lineup, got a lot of young players, and obviously getting to know the veterans on the team and feeling more comfortable was important, so I think the best way to do that was to start out on the road the way we have and we've taken advantage of it."


With a 2-0 start to their current three-game trip, the Bruins will next look to pull out another road victory on Thursday in Minnesota. 


"We've embraced it and to a certain point, we've been rewarded for it."


Video: Krejci, Bruins discuss 2-0 win in Colorado

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