BOSTON -- The common theme in the Bruins dressing room following their 2-1 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night was that they found a way to win a game they probably didn’t deserve and that it wouldn't have happened without the play of Tuukka Rask.
Rask was brilliant in regulation and overtime, making 30 saves while his team struggled to muster offense. Rask then shut the door in the shootout, stopping two of three shooters to help his team steal two points.
“Tuukka was the guy that kept us in,” coach Claude Julien said. “You can look at the shot clock, but they also shot a lot of pucks from far away. Nonetheless, I thought Tuukka made big saves when we needed him to and kept us in there and allowed us to win in the shootout. How he handled himself in the shootout, I thought, was very good. He’s a goaltender that I think has been working extremely hard in practice, doing extra and everything else. It’s nice to see him back to .500, and hopefully he keeps moving on the positive side.”
After losing his first three starts, Rask is now 3-3-0 with a 2.32 GAA and .919 save percentage. In those three losses, the Bruins scored only four goals, for Rask's next two starts they scored 12. But on Thursday the gas finally ran out on the Bruins' scoring attack that had lit up opposing goalies for 34 goals in their last six games.
Still, Rask said he didn’t feel it was on him to get the win.
“You don’t play the score as a goalie, you just try to stop every puck,” Rask said. “You come into every game expecting 1-0 because you don’t want to get scored on. Sometimes things go differently and the past couple of games we were able to score a lot of goals, but today was a different story and so be it. It can’t go on forever, right?"
That’s basically the same approach Rask took in the shootout, specifically with a chance to seal the deal and stop Blue Jackets forward Antoine Vermette in the third round.
“That’s about it,” Rask said. “You don’t want to overthink. You have a chance to make a save and win the hockey game, so that’s pretty much the only thing you focus on.”
Rask's teammates know he deserved better in front of him and if not for him, they may not have escaped with even a point.
“He’s been great for us throughout the year,” Patrice Bergeron said. “Tonight he’s made some huge saves and we need that kind of effort from him especially in games like tonight.”