Boston, MA –
The Providence Bruins starting netminder, Tuukka Rask
, continues to tease the Hub of Hockey with his fine play for the Boston Bruins. It seems whenever the tall, skinny kid from Finland gets a chance to shine, he takes advantage of the moment.
"I mean last year, his first game he played against Toronto, I was watching from up top, and he was sick,” said Shawn Thornton
. “I don't want to say he single-handedly won us that game, but he was a big factor that's for sure.”
This afternoon was no different, with a 1-0, 35-save shutout against the New York Rangers, and Thornton did not sound surprised.
"We've all seen what Tuukka can bring," said Thornton. "He brought it in training camp. He brought it last year, and when he is up, he's a very gifted goalie, so we had a lot of confidence going into the game with him.”Marc Savard
, who scored the one-and-only goal in the game wasn’t surprised, either. Like Thornton, Savard noted Boston’s goaltending depth as a consistent, positive factor this season.
"We're confident with whoever's in there, and tonight it was Tuukka,” said Savard of Rask's first NHL shutout. “Give the kid credit; he's been waiting for this opportunity, and he took advantage of it tonight.
“He's an NHL goaltender, and we all know that. He's going to get his time, but right now, he came in and did the job for us.”
Aaron Ward has played in front of a lot of goalies, and even he, as a veteran NHL defenseman, sounded very confident about the 21-year old goaltending phenom.
"We saw him last year, and we know he's capable,” said Ward. “Obviously, it's a new environment for him – it's a few different faces – so he stepped up and really, now we've got three great goalies.
“That's a good feeling to have.”
From afar, Ward gave the youngster some advice for his next start.
"He didn't come out and play soccer today,” said the defenseman. “He's got to relax and come out and play soccer before the game; it's usually his routine. There's no reason for him to be nervous.
“He's skilled, he's…very calm out there, he doesn't seem to get too high, too low. He's a guy that knows the game and plays it well.”
Bruins head coach Claude Julien knows what he has in Rask.
“I thought he was very good,” he said. “I thought our team did a pretty good job in front of him, and sometimes that’s a normal situation; you want to give him the best chance possible, but when he had to make the big saves, he made them.
“Obviously he’s played some games for us, so we know that he’s capable of playing, coming in and giving us some good games here.”