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Rask's Stellar Start Spearheading Bruins

Goalie was named NHL's First Star of the Week on Monday

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / - Brad Marchand was more than happy to stand before the media and answer questions Tuesday afternoon in Denver.

His eagerness to do so had much to do with the subject he was asked to speak upon: the continued stellar play of Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.

"He's been great. We need him to play like that if we're going to be a good team," Marchand said following practice at the University of Denver. "When he does, he gives us an opportunity to win every night. It's great to see him at the top of his game. We need him to continue to do that."

Rask (10-1-0) has been immense through the season's first month, as he has been between the pipes for all 10 Bruins victories this season, while posting a miniscule 1.54 goals against average and .945 save percentage to go along with three shutouts.

The 29-year-old netminder is tied for the league lead in wins and shutouts, ranks second behind Carey Price in GAA, and sits tied for third in save percentage.

It is by far the best start of Rask's career and comes despite missing almost 10 days in late October with an undisclosed injury.

Video: BOS@COL: Rask shuts the door on Gelinas, Grigorenko

"There was no reason not to, he's been a good goaltender for us," Bruins coach Claude Julien said when asked if he expected Rask to have such a strong start.

"He had a bit of an off year last year, but he's been good. He's won the Vezina, he's a guy that's had some good save percentages. He's a guy that certainly deserves the accolades he's getting right now.

"He's been solid since the start of the season, and he's given us a chance to win every night."

One of the accolades Julien was referring to was Rask being named the NHL's First Star of the Week on Monday after posting a 4-0-0 record, with a 0.75 goals against average, .970 save percentage, and two shutouts for the week ending Nov. 13.

"Can't say enough about that guy," said David Krejci. "He's been really good so far, keeping us in the game every single game. Sometimes you only need one or two goals to win the game.

"It's good to see him playing that well. Hopefully he can keep it up."

Rask, however, has been deflecting much of the praise that has come his way. He would like to place the focus more on the players in front him.

"I think a lot of it is how we've played," said Rask, who won the Vezina Trophy in 2013-14 as the league's top goalie. "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.

"We've been playing good hockey. I've felt good. I think everybody has contributed to our success and I'm just riding along with the boys, I guess."

Video: BOS@ARI: Rask shuts down Domi's chance and rebound

A revived Bruins defense and the stout play of Rask have placed the Black & Gold 10th in the NHL in goals allowed per game (2.38), a sharp uptick from last season when Boston finished 20th in the league (2.78).

"He's very humble and a great guy," said Marchand, who leads the Bruins with 16 points in 16 games. "It's great that he's giving credit to all the guys. We are a team and we do need everyone to play together to win.

"But when we have him behind us and backing us up and leading the way it allows us to play better."

Marchand has been side by side with Rask as the two have developed through the organization over the last decade. He has come to know well what allows Rask to succeed as such a high level.

"He just seems so calm and so confident in net," said Marchand. "When you see him like that, we feed off of that. When he's the best player on your team, you need him to be the best player.

"It's great to see him evolve over the years and continually be one of the best goalies in the league. It's been a lot of fun to watch him grow."

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