Gustavsson shines in win over Wild
The Boston Bruins responded very nicely on Thursday night at TD Garden, beating the Minnesota Wild 4-2.
With Jonas Gustavsson getting his first start in 12 days and first at TD Garden as a Bruin, he rejuvenated the Black and Gold en route to a 24 save performance and his fourth win in five starts under his new regime. Gustavsson didn’t have much success as a visitor at TD Garden recording one win and a .874 save percentage in five games played, but on this night gave his team a chance to win.
The 31 year-old net minder has been more than a breath of fresh air spelling Tuukka Rask this season. His 4-1-0 record with a 2.20 goals against average and .914 save percentage outperforms his teammate Rask in every category. Rask with a bigger sample size owns a 5-7-1 record to go along with a .890 save percentage and 3.18 goals against average. Gustavsson has also yet to allow more than three goals in any game while Rask has allowed five goals four times and six goals once.
One of Gustavsson’s bigger saves came at the end of the second period to give the B’s some momentum heading into the third period.
“Yeah, I mean, no matter how good we play there’s always going to be times when me or Tuukka, whoever’s in net needs to make that save,” Gustavsson said. “Some games we need to make more saves than others. There’s always those times when we need to step up too and that’s part of our job.”
Gustavsson also was excited to get the nod following a team loss, but didn’t take any credit for the win individually deflecting the notion and crediting the entire team.
“As a group we always want to bounce back doesn’t really matter who’s in the lineup,” Gustavsson said. “We’re all a team together. And we’re all-when we lose a game or two, obviously we want to come back and have a strong game. That goes for everyone, me included. So, obviously we know the importance of bouncing back right away.”
Head coach Claude Julien was planning to give Gustavsson the start Thursday night against the Wild sticking to his approach in years past resting his workhorse on busy weeks.
“In Tuukka’s defense, I really didn’t think he was responsible for last game, the goals they scored,” Julien said. “So Tuukka’s playing better. Jonas has given us some great games as you saw tonight again and hopefully we can ride those two goaltenders for the whole season and have them as fresh as possible and as healthful as possible.”
Loui Eriksson may have been the highlight of the night for the Black and Gold as he recorded a hat trick and was sensational in all three zones, but Gustavsson cannot be overlooked in a game in which the B’s needed to have especially on home ice where they have been dismal.
Gustavsson has appeared in only five games, but he feels he has his feet underneath him in a B’s sweater.
“It’s still early, but so far so good, I guess,” Gustavsson said. “I’m just happy when we can get the wins and that’s all that matters. I’m happy we got the win today.”
It’s nice that Julien has a back-up goaltender he can count on. Maybe he could lean on Gustavsson a little more if he stays hot.