Bruins Notes: Tuukka Rask Shines In Boston’s Game 1 Win Over Senators

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The Boston Bruins had yet to record a win over the Ottawa Senators this season. That changed Wednesday.

The Bruins put together a strong third period in Wednesday night’s Game 1 and earned an impressive victory at Canadian Tire Centre.

While much of the attention was directed toward Frank Vatrano and Brad Marchand‘s third-period goals, Boston’s win was in large part due to the strong play in between the pipes from Tuukka Rask.

Rask turned in a terrific performance, as he turned away 26 of 27 Senators shots on goal. While the Bruins goaltender has oft been criticized for his play this season, his showing in Game 1 left room for nothing but praise.

Rask’s second-period performance, in particular, was critical in keeping the Bruins in the contest. Boston’s offense was nowhere to be found in the second frame and failed to record a single shot on goal. Given the offense’s poor 20 minutes, Ottawa dominated the second period and maintained consistent pressure in the Bruins’ zone.

While Ottawa did convert with a Bobby Ryan goal in the period, the fact that Rask limited the damage to just one score was huge for the Bruins. The Senators logged 12 shots in the second frame, with Rask denying all of them except for Ryan’s tally. Had the Senators continued to pile on, it obviously would have made it very difficult for the Bruins to mount a comeback in the third period.

Deep Stanley Cup playoff runs often are determined by a goalie’s play. While this was only one game, Boston has to be pleased with Rask’s outing. If he can continue to dominate in net, the Bruins not only have a good chance of getting past the Senators, but contending past the first round as well.

Here are some other notes from Bruins-Senators.

–Although he was expected to be good to go, David Krejci (upper body) was a late scratch from Wednesday night’s contest and was replaced with Sean Kuraly. Kuraly would log just over eight minutes of ice time, which is a major step down from Krejci’s usual presence. Getting back Krejci’s playmaking and puck-possessing abilities is crucial for the Bruins.

–Charlie McAvoy was impressive in his first-ever NHL game. The 19-year-old was sprung into action as a result of injuries to Torey Krug (lower body) and Brandon Carlo (concussion). The Boston University product would make his presence known, as he logged the second-most time on ice for the Bruins (24:11), only behind Zdeno Chara (25:32).

McAvoy exhibited tremendous composure and poise despite his age and the stage. He was featured heavily on the Bruins’ power play and proved he’s capable of standing tall against veteran opponents. His play was not only a good sign for the Bruins in terms of this series, but also for years to come.

–With an already hobbled defense, the Bruins received another blow when Colin Miller collided knee-to-knee with Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki halfway through the second period. He would head to the tunnel and did not return to the game. While the B’s were able to escape Game 1 with a win, a heavily battered defense could be cause for concern moving forward.

–The Bruins entered Game 1 with several players who have never experienced postseason hockey in the NHL.

None of these players seemed to be fazed by the moment, even McAvoy. Vatrano certainly made the most of his first playoff game, as he netted a third-period goal that would even the score at 1-1.

–Brad Marchand continues to drive the Bruins offense. After missing the final two games of the regular season due to suspension, the All Star winger delivered when the B’s needed him most. His go-ahead goal with just minutes remaining in the contest vaulted Boston to a huge Game 1 win.

Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images

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