WILMINGTON, Mass. -- After the Boston Bruins lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask used an expletive to describe his play in net.
Rask made 29 saves on 33 shots in the 4-3 double-overtime loss. The Vezina Trophy finalist, who leads all goaltenders in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 1.52 goals-against average and .946 save percentage, has always been blunt after his rare subpar games in the NHL.
That's why the Bruins love Rask as a person as much as they do as a goaltender. He's a teammate on equal footing with everyone in the dressing room. He hangs out with the guys off the ice and doesn’t request special treatment.
With Game 2 of the best-of-7 series at TD Garden on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), Rask's teammates voiced their support of their goaltender Friday after an optional practice at Ristuccia Arena.
They also weren't surprised by his harsh critique of his work.
"That's him. He always has high standards and expecting himself to be at his best all the time," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "He's been like that for us all year. I thought he was good for us and he always wants to be better. He wants to win games for us, and I know he's going to bounce back [Saturday]."
Rask was second in save percentage (.930) and fourth in GAA (2.04) in the regular season. He allowed six goals in five games during the first round against the Detroit Red Wings. In the 2013 playoffs, he had a 1.88 GAA and led the NHL with a .940 save percentage during the Bruins' run to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
The 27-year-old has accomplished a lot in a short period of time. He didn't do it all without having to overcome some adversity along the way. The Bruins aren't wasting time consoling him because they know he can handle himself when it comes to rebounding.
"There's not much you need to say to him. He's always trying to do whatever he can to be on top of his game," Bruins forward Milan Lucic said. "He's a professional when it comes to his preparation. Sometimes he is hard on himself, but that's athletes everywhere. They can be hard on themselves at times, but Tuukka is a world-class goaltender and I know he's going to do whatever he can to have a big, big performance [Saturday]."