BROSSARD, Quebec -- Instead of singling out specific players, Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Wednesday that he expects “many” of the Bruins players to improve for Game 4 of their series against the Montreal Canadiens.
When asked about his goaltender, Tuukka Rask, Chiarelli added “one of many.”
Rask hasn’t been bad this series, but he’s hasn’t been at his best, either. The Canadiens lead the series 2-1, and in order for the Bruins to tie it up before returning to Boston, Rask needs to be the best player on the ice in Game 4.
Plenty of times during his career, he's shown the ability to bail out his teammates with spectacular performances.
“He’s one of the best two or three goalies in the world,” Chiarelli said. “And he knows where his game is and I’m not going to comment on his game. And I think he’s maybe one of the top two goalies in the world. So I expect him to play well. And he’s one of many that have to play better.”
After a 4-3 double-overtime loss in Game 1, Rask said he “sucked” and needed to be better, which he was in Game 2 -- a 5-3 Boston win. He didn’t receive much help in Game 3, as three of Montreal’s four goals (one was an empty-netter) were defensive breakdowns that led to golden opportunities for the Canadiens.
In the first-round series against the Detroit Red Wings, Rask was sensational and stopped 146 of 152 shots as Boston won in five games. Against the Canadiens, Rask has allowed a few goals he’d like to have back.
It’s been an emotional week for Rask. He and his girlfriend welcomed the couple’s first child, a girl, between Games 2 and 3.
Rask said his personal life has nothing to do with his play in this series.
“No, no. It was just another game,” Rask said after Game 3. “Obviously, I’m really happy but we still have a job to do here and when we come to the rink it’s go time, and when I go home it’s a different time.”
At the other end of the ice, Montreal goalie Carey Price has been outstanding. He has stopped 104 shots in the first three games, and he's being helped by his teammates’ willingness to block shots in front of him. In Game 3, the Canadiens had 29 blocked shots.
Montreal expects a better Bruins team in Game 4.
"I think they’re a good team and they have a lot of weapons and they can hurt you many ways,” said Montreal forward Daniel Briere. “Obviously, when you have a guy like Carey Price holding down the fort it gives you a lot of confidence. It gives you the chance to sometimes play a little looser and make plays you wouldn’t normally make if it were anybody else back there. He’s been so good for us. He’s given us confidence all year long.”