Tough ending for Tuukka Rask

BOSTON -- Earning the start over Tim Thomas in Boston's Saturday afternoon showdown against the first-place Rangers, Tuukka Rask nearly came up huge for the Bruins.

After a game misconduct from Andrew Ference for charging gave New York a 4-on-3 advantage for the last 3 minutes and 10 seconds of overtime, Rask made a number of key stops on the Ranger power play and was three seconds away from forcing a shootout.

With less than 10 seconds to go, Tuukka made back-to-back sprawling saves on backhand attempts from New York's Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards. Waiting for the rebound, though, was Ranger goal-hawk Marian Gaborik, who pounced on the puck and flipped it over the head of Rask for the game-winner with 3.6 seconds remaining in overtime.

"It sucks, yeah," noted a visibly frustrated Rask after the game. "I mean, it's never easy when you get a five-minute major. I think the guys did a great job killing it, but then, the unfortunate bounce there, and it's in our net. But, good battle."

Rask notched 33 saves on the afternoon, his only other two blemishes coming on a pair of second-period goals from Callahan and Gaborik. The overtime loss snapped Rask's seven-game win streak, but the Bruins netminder has still yet to lose in regulation in his past eight games. His last defeat came in a 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 6.

Bruins coach Claude Julien's decision to go with Rask over Thomas against the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers is indicative of his confidence in the young goaltender. After the game, Julien sympathized with the tough ending for Rask.

"Again, it's a game of inches," said Julien. "We also won the draw, and if that puck makes it down the other end of the ice, we're probably going into a shootout. They had a few whacks at it, and the guy who scored [Gaborik] is normally a guy who in that area knows what to do with the puck."

Added Rask about the game winner: "Somebody liked it, I guess. I mean, it was a pretty thrilling end. Not for me, though."