Tuukka Rask’s Quality Performance Not Enough For Bruins In Loss To Canadiens

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BOSTON — Tuukka Rask has struggled throughout his career against the Montreal Canadiens, but he wasn’t the reason why the Boston Bruins lost 3-1 to their archrivals Sunday night at TD Garden.

The Bruins’ No. 1 goaltender entered Sunday night’s game with a 3-12-3 record, a 2.76 goals against average and a .902 save percentage in 19 career games against the Habs. But he gave an excellent performance in his 20th appearance by making 32 saves on 34 shots for a .939 save percentage.

Both goals against Rask were not his fault.

Canadiens forward Dale Weise opened the scoring with a tap-in goal just 38 seconds into the second period. He was left alone at the edge of the crease despite Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and forward Patrice Bergeron being in the area. Montreal’s second goal was scored on a breakaway when Max Pacioretty received a pass from Weise after a Bruins turnover in the attacking zone. The Habs added an empty-net tally in the final minute of regulation.

“I thought he played well,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said of Rask. “You know, the winning goal is a terrible goal to give up. Two defensemen colliding in the O-zone, and like I said, we have a tendency to shoot ourselves in the foot for whatever reason against them, and the kind of goals we give them are certainly not the kind of goals you see from our team most of the time.”

Rask was sharp from the very beginning of the game. He made two good saves on Canadiens shots from the slot in the first period and did well to locate pucks through the traffic that Montreal forwards were consistently creating in front of his net.

The Bruins weren’t establishing that same type of traffic in front of Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who nearly earned his second straight shutout against Boston until David Pastrnak scored in the third period to end Price’s shutout streak at 159:25. Price is one of the best goaltenders in the league, and if he sees the puck, he’s probably going to stop it.

“I don?t think we made Price?s night real hard,” Julien said. “He didn?t have to move much. He just stood there, stopped the shots, so those are areas that weren?t good enough.”

Boston scored just six goals in their four games against the Canadiens this season. That kind of offensive production forces Rask to be nearly perfect for the Bruins to win, and that challenge becomes even harder when a Vezina Trophy candidate such as Price is standing in the opposite net.

“It?s always frustrating when you play a good game and fall short, but it?s a team game and we battle through these things together,” Rask said. “It?s a loss, of course against Montreal, so it doesn?t make the record better, but I feel like my game is in the right place and (I’ll) just keep plugging away.”

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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