The Boston Bruins held off-ice workouts Friday following another tough loss for Boston and its suddenly hard-luck goalie Tuukka Rask. Despite making 38 saves in the 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, Rask is still winless through five appearances, at 0-4-1 with a 2.75 GAA and .923 save percentage. Despite being granted a day off the ice from head coach Claude Julien, Rask and goaltending partner Tim Thomas were on the ice taking shots from Johnny Boychuk, Marc Savard and Marco Sturm.
Following the shoot-around, Thomas took some time to discuss Rask’s tough start. After all, Thomas went through similar stretches last season when he went 17-18-8 with a 2.56 GAA and .918 save percentage.
“Yeah, I was in a very similar situation [as Rask] last year,” Thomas told ESPNBoston.com. “Getting some good plays made against you mixed in with some funny bounces, and it just so happens that when you play that, they’re not getting the type of offense they’re getting when they’re playing for the other guy. I’ve been through it. There was one period last year when I played really well for like six games and had really good stats but didn’t get the wins. That’s what Tuukka’s in the middle of right now.”
Looking back on last season, prior to injuring his hip and then subsequently losing the starting job to Rask, Thomas remembers not actually worrying or losing confidence. He believes Rask is fine in that respect.
“I remember, though, it wasn’t really bothering me that much because I was playing good at the time,” Thomas said. “Tuukka is playing well, too, and hopefully it’s not bothering him that much. He seems fine and [seems like] himself, so I think he’s doing OK. He’s handling it correctly, and I’m not surprised because he’s just that type of guy. He doesn’t get rattled easily.”
So has Rask looked to Thomas for advice?
“No, he hasn’t and I don’t really expect him to,” Thomas said. “He’s got a good head on his shoulder and I think he can deal on his own.”
Ironically, the goaltender on the other end of the ice Thursday, Habs goalie Carey Price, went through a similar experience last season and during the preseason this year, and was actually booed off the ice in the Canadiens' first preseason game, a 4-2 home loss to the Bruins.
“He went through it in the preseason, and I thought he was going to get run out of town,” Thomas joked about Price. “But yeah, Carey has regrouped and he’s playing really well right now. So that’s just hockey. Things happen, you roll with it and you battle through.”
Thomas believes in Rask and thinks sooner or later, things will turn for the better for the Finnish netminder.
“Tuukka is a great goalie and he has the right attitude,” Thomas said. “He’ll get through it.”