BOSTON — Only 27 goalies in the NHL have played 500 games with one team.
Until Tuesday night, that is.
Tuukka Rask became the 28th when he took his place between the pipes for the Bruin against the Toronto Maple Leafs — the team that traded him to Boston — at TD Garden. He stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced in the Bruins’ 4-2 win.
After the game, he earned some high praise from all around.
“He just finds ways to improve and be better for this team,” Brad Marchand said. “Big reason why we’re a good team right now. It’s a lot of fun to see him continue to be a phenomenal goalie in this league & he will be for a long time still. He’s earned it.”
The win marked the 269th of Rask’s career. His first came against the very team he faced Tuesday night.
“I think it was the same score, too,” he said on NESN’s postgame coverage. “… It’s kind of funny that it goes that way. But I’m happy we got the win.”
Rask now sits at 4-0-1 on the season and head coach Bruce Cassidy said despite the B’s wanting to win every night, they knew Tuesday held some meaning for their netminder.
“The guys on the ice, they want to win for him every night, but I think they realized tonight was a special night, and I thought we played pretty well in front of him,” he said after the game. “Like I said, I think in the second period, we got a little sloppy, probably on the power play giving up these odd-man rushes that weren?t necessary, forcing plays that weren?t there, take what?s given type of mentality, and I think we got back to that in the third, even though it was just five on five. So, I?m sure they?re very happy for Tuukka. Anyway, he?s on to 501 on Saturday, probably.”
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Bruins-Maple Leafs game:
— David Pastrnak’s goal in the first marked not just the 10th of the season, but was his 300th NHL point as well.
“Everything catches my eye with him lately,” Cassidy said. “He?s just on it, he?s on pucks, he?s strong, his conditioning seems great. He?s playing a lot of minutes, hard minutes against good players every night. Play-making ability, he?s making plays as well, getting his shot off. I think last year he was fighting the puck a little bit in the playoffs, for whatever reason. I think it was rust to be honest with you, a few times late in the year. He?s spot on this year.”
— Tuesday marked Bruce Cassidy’s 200th game as head coach of the Bruins.
— After the game, Boston announced Karson Kuhlman suffered a hairline nondisplaced fracture of his right tibia against the Maple Leafs on Saturday. He’ll be evaluated in about four weeks.
— Secondary scoring has been an issue to begin the season for Boston, but both Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm came through to score two of the Bruins’ four goals.
“They?re on pucks a little better, so I was happy for them to get rewarded,” Cassidy said. “Not only that, I thought they did a better job getting out of their end, winning puck battles when it mattered, then it translated in the other end.”
— Brad Marchand’s first-period goal assist extended his streak to seven games with a helper. He now has an eight-game point streak.