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Second Round

Rask shows Bruins have good goalie too with Game 4 performance

Outshines Blue Jackets' Bobrovsky with 39 saves in win to even second-round series

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

COLUMBUS -- The song wafted down the hallway from the vicinity of the Boston Bruins dressing room, the lyrics unmistakable. "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" was playing as Bruce Cassidy walked back to the visitors' area in the bowels of Nationwide Arena, and the joy and relief from the coach of the winning team were unmistakable.

"Turn it up," he yelled. "That's my favorite song at the Garden!"

 

[RELATED: Complete Blue Jackets vs. Bruins series coverage

 

He could be forgiven his exuberance. The Bruins had just completed a 4-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, tying the best-of-7 series 2-2, and sending the Bruins back to Boston having made a statement: Their goalie, too, is pretty good.

Bolstered by the play of Tuukka Rask -- in an Eastern Conference Second Round when so much of the talk has surrounded the magic of Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky -- the Bruins survived a first- and second-period onslaught by the Blue Jackets, turning the series back in their direction.

"Tuukka was outstanding," Cassidy said. "I thought he really fought hard to compete on second chances tonight. Especially the power play there -- I think it was in the third period -- it was a lot of second chances. They've scored some goals like that. We've got to do a better job in front of him, obviously, with the clears.

"But I thought he really competed hard to find pucks in there. Made some good saves on some odd-man rushes and the angles, and then obviously the penalty shot. It's a big turning point in the game."

Video: BOS@CBJ, Gm4: Rask denies multiple scoring chances

At 6:52 of the first period, Brad Marchand was called for a tripping penalty on a shorthanded breakaway by Boone Jenner 14 seconds into the Bruins' first power play of the game, the second time they've been called for a shorthanded penalty shot in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Bruins had a 1-0 lead on David Pastrnak's one-timer from the left face-off circle at 3:33, and a goal on the penalty shot would have erased their advantage.

Instead, Rask knocked away the shot with his stick hand, allowing the Bruins to resume their power play.

Patrice Bergeron scored 26 seconds later.

"It worked out well for us, that sequence of events," Cassidy said.

Perhaps no save was bigger.

"Probably No. 1, 2, 3, I think," forward Sean Kuraly said of where he would rank that moment in the game. "It's huge. It's 1-0 at the time. He was huge for us tonight. He was, I think, our best player."

Rask finished with 39 saves on 40 shots, the lone goal a controversial one. The puck deflected off the protective netting, and the Bruins slowed their play, believing it was about to be called dead. But Artemi Panarin wristed it past Rask, and the goal was counted. The NHL cited Rule 38.4 (ix), which states that "video review shall only be permitted on goals that hit the spectator netting if the puck is directed immediately into the goal."

Even Rask didn't know exactly what happened.

Quipped the goalie, "If I saw it, then I would have probably slammed the sticks and chased the refs."

He didn't. And ultimately, he didn't need to do so.

Video: Rask dominant as Bruins even series with Blue Jackets

Rask held the Blue Jackets off long enough, especially through shorthanded breakaway after shorthanded breakaway, that the Bruins were finally able to increase their lead at 8:40 of the third. Then, Kuraly took a puck that Zdeno Chara sent off the end boards, deflecting off David Savard, and beat Bobrovsky. Kuraly sought out a Bruins-jersey clad fan for his now signature leap into the boards.

"I found one," the Columbus-raised Kuraly said. "I didn't even think they knew I was coming. But I banged and let them know I was there."

Asked why Kuraly keeps coming up big in big situations -- the fourth-line forward has six goals in 23 NHL playoff games and 14 in 154 regular-season games -- Cassidy didn't hesitate.

"Great hockey roots," he deadpanned.

Kuraly's goal was followed by Bergeron's second on the power play, at 17:30 of the third. That sealed the game -- and perhaps allowed Rask to breathe just a little easier.

Of course, it wasn't only the goalie. It was the best players on the Bruins cashing in, finishing on the chances that they worked to create. Pastrnak scored his second goal of the series, and the first one on an actual shot, after he had a puck deflect off his skate in Game 2. Bergeron had two power-play goals. Marchand had an assist.

"It's been well-documented: I think any team doesn't win without their best players being their best players," Cassidy said. "I think we can survive for a while. … But eventually it's going to catch up."

Unless their best players returned.

Video: BOS@CBJ, Gm4: Rask denies Jenner on penalty shot

They did Thursday, when the Bruins got their win from their biggest names, from Bergeron and Pastrnak and -- most especially -- from Rask.

He was there for every big moment. He was there on the odd-man rushes and the shorthanded chances and the second chances and the penalty shot.

"He's been a great player for our group all playoffs," Marchand said. "He's given us a chance to win every game. He was big again tonight. When we needed him to make saves on the kill and when they were putting the surge on, he was big for us. He had a great game."

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