Tuukka Rask has many detractors, but he certainly hasn’t given them much fodder lately.
The Boston Bruins extended their point streak to 16 games with a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. And with the win, Rask extended his personal point streak to 17 games, posting a 14-0-3 record in that stretch.
You’ll remember last season Rask strung together an impressive 21-game personal point streak. Between that and his active run now, the B’s netminder has done something only one other goaltender in league history has accomplished.
Check out this stat, courtesy of the NHL’s public relations department.
Yeah, that’s pretty impressive.
While Rask hasn’t always been totally peppered over his last 17 decisions (he needed to make just 20 saves Saturday night), he’s come up with big saves pretty much every game, regardless of shot volume. And on night’s where he’s needed to be in peak form, well, he has been (see his 30-save showing in the B’s 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 12).
Sure, once Rask loses a game the afternoon drive hosts on one local radio station will take great pleasure in lambasting him. But at this point, Rask has set too many records and played key roles in the franchise’s success too many times for him to not get his proper due.
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Bruins-Devils game:
— It’s pretty tough to accidentally earn points in 16 straight games, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the Bruins have done a lot of things well during their current run.
With the win over the Devils, the B’s now are 12-0-4 over their last 16 contests, and in that stretch they’re scoring 3.2 goals per game while conceding 2.1. They’ve executed on 26 percent of their power play opportunities and killed 81 percent of their penalties.
— The Bruins needed just one goal to earn the victory Saturday night.
While on the power play early in the first period, Patrice Bergeron fed a pass across the slot to Brad Marchand, who quickly finished past Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood at 2:37 in the first period.
It was Marchand’s 27th goal of the season, and a continuation of some solid play lately. Over his last 13 contests, Marchand is slashing 8-11-19 with 31 shots.
It’s also worth noting that the winger was playing in his 666th career game Saturday night, making the opponent very fitting.
— Clinging to a one-goal lead essentially the entire game, the Bruins really needed to buckle down defensively. Quality defense has played a key role in much of their recent success, and that again played a big role against the Devils.
Ex-Devil and newly-acquired Bruin Marcus Johansson has been impressed with his team’s emphasis on defense.
“I think it’s great. Everyone’s buying in and everyone’s doing their part,” Johansson told Alex Kraemer after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “It’s a big part of our success, and were not giving up a lot of chances. I think tonight we didn’t play our best game but we still stuck with it and we played defense great, like you said, and that shows. We only needed to score one tonight.”
— With Bergeron’s helper on Marchand’s goal, the top-line center tallied his 793rd career point.
That figure ties him with Wayne Cashman for sixth-most points in franchise history. He now has a long way to go to catch Bobby Orr in fifth place. Orr finished his career with 888 points.