MONTREAL -- In a battle of two of the top goalies in the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens' Carey Price helped his team to a 2-1 marginal victory over Tuukka Rask and the Boston Bruins on Thursday night at Bell Centre. Price made 32 saves to improve his record to 13-8-2. Rask finished with 25 saves and saw his record drop to 14-6-2.
Rask hasn't had the best luck against the Canadiens, and with Thursday loss, he's 2-9-2 in 13 career games against Montreal, while Price improves to 17-8-3 in 28 games against Boston.
"It would be nice to win, obviously," Rask said. "I've played some bad games against these guys and I've played some good games, just not good enough to win. It doesn't matter. I want to win every game; it's just my record doesn't show how things are against Montreal."
Time and again this season, Rask has bailed out his teammates and stolen a few wins. The Bruins couldn't reciprocate Thursday night, playing well in the first and third periods, but imploding in the second as Montreal scored twice.
Tomas Plekanec beat Rask to the short side, top right corner with a shot from a tough angle near the bottom of the right faceoff circle to tie the game at 1-1 at 9 minutes, 16 seconds. Montreal gained its 2-1 lead at 17:42 of the second when Max Pacioretty's backhander from the high slot made its way through a scramble in front and beat a sprawled-out Rask. The Habs racked up 18 shots in the second period. Boston managed just seven, none of which were real scoring chances.
"It's weird how we do it sometimes, turning it on and off like that," Rask said. "We started off great, then the second, I don't know if the start was that bad, but I felt like they had a couple of shots and I gave them some rebounds there and they scored. They got the crowd into it, then took it over from there. You always want to play a perfect game as a goalie and not give them an inch, but today in the second period they got a little too much momentum."
Boston did regroup and mounted a decent attack in the third period, but Price was too good and made 16 saves in the final 20 minutes.
"We had lots of chances and Carey stood tall for his team and we weren't able to finish," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "At the same time, we didn't need to be in that position. It turned the whole game around and what they did to us in the second we were supposed to do to them, and we didn't do it."
After losing Johnny Boychuk to what appeared to be a back injury at 4:28 of the first period, it was the fourth time this season the Bruins were forced to play with five defensemen. Twice Boychuk has been injured in the first period, while Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid have also suffered injuries early in games. Being short a defenseman does change how Rask needs to play.
"Yeah, it's not the first time. Especially when that happens, as a goalie, if you have to play the puck you want to be extra careful, make the right play and help your D out by talking to them," Rask said. "I thought we played good with five D after that and didn't have too much trouble in our own end."