When he got off the bus Friday afternoon, rookie goalie Tuukka Rask
thought he was going to have one of the best spots in Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena – to watch the game – and back up Manny Fernandez on the Boston Bruins bench.
Instead, when Fernandez sustained a badly bruised thumb in warm-ups, Rask got an even better spot.
Judging by the results, Rask had the best view of anyone in the house.
Throughout the game, time and time again, Rask, who finished the night with 24 saves, held the fort while his teammates attempted to wrestle the lead from the defending Stanley Cup champions.
As the clock wound down, and Rask needed to be spectacular, the Bruins young netminder shone brightly in the spotlight.
“We lost (the puck) and they threw it in front,” said the goalie, who dove feet first toward a shot in the waning moments of the third period. “I just threw my leg in there.
“And I think there was a shot later into my pad from in front of me.
“Guys were jumping all over me and I just covered it,” he said.
Rask had just about everything covered on the night and the Bruins defeated the Red Wings, 2-1.
“I felt good,” said the goalie. “I wasn’t supposed to play, but things happen and I was playing and I was starting.
“It’s not always easy to jump in when you are not prepared for that, but I think I felt pretty good. Like in the last game, I had a couple of easy shots in the beginning to get me going.”
Bruins head coach Claude Julien was impressed with Rask’s cool.
“Sometimes that’s the best way to get into a game – when you don’t have time to think,” he said. “He just went in there and looked extremely calm in net.
“It was another solid effort (and) solid performance for him.
“He’s played two really good games for us and those are all encouraging things,” he said.Ryder reaches the net
New Bruins forward Michael Ryder scored in the third period to secure the win for Boston and raise the B’s record to 2-1-1.
Ryder’s score also ended a dry spell for the Bruins, who had lost (2-1 in OT) to the Islanders on Tuesday in Moncton and then fell to Detroit (4-3) on Thursday in Halifax.
“He’s had some chances,” said Julien. “I talked to him the other day and said, ‘The chances are there and when you get an opportunity to put one in it will certainly take a lot of pressure off of you.
“It was a big goal and that was nice to see.”
Ryder didn’t necessarily think the play was going to turn into a goal, but was happy to score and get rid of some excess baggage.
“I just threw it behind the net,” said Ryder. “And Lucic forechecked and I circled out front and Krejci passed it out to me and I just shot.
“I think it went five hole and just trickled in.
“But it was pretty good to get the monkey of my back,” he said.
Boston returns to Boston on Saturday to face the Washington Capitals.