On a night where Darelle Revis stole the Boston spotlight, Tuukka Rask and the Boston Bruins set out for their Rivalry Night match up against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
After five straight losses to Les Habitants, Tuukka Rask’s 35 saves sparked the Black and Gold to a 4-1 victory Wednesday night at the Bell Centre.
For all the hype surrounding “Revis Island”, it was “Rask Island” Wednesday in Montreal in a much-needed win against a team that has simply been a thorn in the B’s side. It was their first win against the Habs in their last six tries including Rask’s first win since February 6, 2013.
Rask was simply magnificent tonight standing on his head in the first period where he made 14 saves to keep the B’s upright. Rask’s first period performance was a lot like the first period against the Rangers a couple of weeks ago where he turned away 19 shots through the first 20 minutes.
If there was ever a game Rask had to get up for, it was this one. His career stats versus the Habs were not pretty to say the least (2-10-2, 2.88 goals against average and .900 save percentage coming into Wednesday) but after the Bruins’ slow start, Rask had their backs and continued his superb play for 60 minutes.
“We’re happy where our game is headed right now,” Rask said after earning his 29th victory of the season, good for fifth in the NHL.
If there were ever a few saves to look at tonight by Rask, look at the breakaway saves he made on Max Pacioretty and then on Alex Galchenyuk minutes apart when the game was still scoreless. If either of them scored, it would’ve been a momentum killer for a B’s team that has trouble scoring against the Habs in the first place.
Rask did not even take credit for making the big saves for his team immediately giving the credit to his teammates.
It seemed as if Rask was playing tonight to send a message against a team he just could not beat. The message was received loud and clear by the Habs as the only goal he let up was due to the complete havoc in front of his crease where David Desharnais poked it home.
That was the only blemish on the night for Rask who was simply sensational sending the B’s to their sixth straight win to climb only a point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins (92 points).
Rask now improved his goals against average to 3.31 against the Habs this season in two starts stopping 40 of 45 shots. If the B’s were to meet the Habs in the playoffs at any point, Rask will need performances similar to this stellar output. Otherwise, if they were to get a start where he gets pulled like he did the time the two teams met at the end of January at TD Garden, then the result will be entirely different.
The Bruins had their whole team rolling on Wednesday night getting contributions from everywhere whether it was each of the first three lines scoring, the defensive effort or the grittiness of the fourth line, but Rask was the man. He earned the games first star and it wasn’t even an afterthought that he was the best player donning the Spoked B on this night.