BOSTON — Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask hasn’t been outplayed by an opposing goalie many times this season. He was on Thursday night in Game 1 against the Montreal Canadiens, though.
Canadiens goalie Carey Price stood on his head and made 48 saves in Montreal’s 4-3 double-overtime win of the second-round Stanley Cup playoff series at TD Garden. Rask wasn’t awful, but he was far from the goalie who just recently was nominated for the Vezina Trophy. After the game, Rask was his own toughest critic.
“We played overall good 5-on-5, pretty much dominated. We had a lot of chances, couldn’t score. But I was (expletive) tonight,” he bluntly stated. “I’ve gotta be better.”
Rask ended up making 29 saves in the losing effort, including a couple of big stops in the overtime periods. However, the goals that he let in were ones that he’s probably going to really want back. The Boston goalie let in a soft goal to P.K. Subban in the first period, and Subban’s overtime game-winner was another shot Rask usually stops.
“(It wasn’t) an off night. I made some saves, but I couldn’t make the game-savers as you say,” he said. “But you go home and regroup.”
Despite the harsh words, Rask didn’t sound too frustrated. Yet Rask’s struggles with the Canadiens are tough to ignore. He still has yet to beat Montreal at TD Garden in his career, and he entered Thursday’s Game 1 with a 3-10-3 career record against the Habs to go along with a .908 save percentage and a 2.63 goals against average, all far cries from his career totals. If the Bruins are going to win this series, they need Rask to be better, and he’s certainly ready to accept that challenge.
The good news for Rask and the Bruins is that they certainly played well enough to win. Boston attempted 40 more shots than Montreal did, and if they cashed in on just one or two more of those, they would have taken their goaltender off the hook. They couldn’t do that, however, and now the B’s will try to bounce back Saturday in Game 2, with a practice Friday mixed in between.
“(When) you suck, you suck. What can I say? It’s the playoffs,” Rask said. “(Friday) we’ve got practice. Maybe I”ll save it for Saturday.”