MONTREAL -- For whatever reason, the Bruins just didn’t seem to play the same in front of Tuukka Rask last season as they did in front of 2010-11 Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas. While Rask didn’t play as well as he did in 2009-10 when he went 22-12-5 with a 1.97 GAA and .931 save percentage, he wasn’t at all bad going 11-14-2 with a 2.67 GAA and .918 save percentage. Well, through three starts this season it has been a case of déjà vu for the Finnish netminder, as once again he played well enough to win, making 23 saves in a 4-2 loss to the Canadiens at the Bell Centre Saturday night, but saw his team continue to blow their scoring chances and lose their third straight game. They remain at the bottom of the eastern Conference and Northeast Division.
Rask, who is now 0-3-0 with a 2.71 GAA and .906 save percentage, was asked if he was frustrated that his teammates can’t seem to convert his solid performances into wins.
“Not really frustrated,” he said. “Every time you go out there and try to get that win, but as a team we’re just not playing the way we should be the full 60 minutes and it’s hurting us. Nobody should get too frustrated, though. Yeah we’re in last place and everything, but we’re making progress and once we get those bounces and pucks going in, I think everything will be fine.”
Rask even put himself in harm’s way when he rushed out to break up a second-period breakaway by Habs winger Max Pacioretty. After the game he was asked about the risky play and what goes into that split-second decision to race toward the incoming opponent.
“He had the puck rolling and he had his head down and those decisions happen in a half a second,” Rask recounted. “I just started rushing toward the puck and tried to get a piece of it. It’s just an instinct. If the guy doesn’t have the puck and it loses its bounce, you might want to make a run at it, but it comes so quickly you can’t panic, you just run at it.”
With several every-other-night games coming up on the November schedule, there has been plenty of chatter about Rask getting more starts -- based on promises from head coach Claude Julien and general manager Peter Chiarelli in the preseason. Rask was asked if he expected to see more starts in the coming weeks.
“I don’t know, we’ll see,” he said.
One thing is for sure: If he doesn’t get more playing time, it won’t be a reflection on his performance.
“He’s been great and we’re letting him down,” defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “He is doing his job and we just need to do ours.”