The Bruins’ media and fans had the luxury of not worrying about a goaltender controversy for a full 24 hours. Instead, the TD Garden faithful faced a much bigger problem: there was no goaltending. Period.
Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak stepped on the ice and displayed some of the worst goaltending on Causeway Street in recent memory. The tandem allowed eight goals on just 27 shots and frankly looked embarrassing in doing so in the 8-5 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night. The Bruins might have been better off strapping up a shooter tutor to their net and praying that the Canucks missed.
Herb Brooks’ ‘You just let up 10 goals Jim, right now that’s anybody’s net’ quote in Miracle has never been more applicable to any situation.
“Goaltending, obviously neither guy was on their game so that’s a problem,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said following the contest.
Halak, the game’s starter, entered the night with a league-best 1.45 GAA. But the journeyman goalie came back down to earth a bit – as was bound to happen after his spectacular start to the season – as he gave up five goals on 19 shots in a period and a half of play.
It all started when David Backes and Danton Heinen turned the puck over in the high slot and gifted the Canucks a solid scoring chance. Bo Horvat drifted in and snuck a weak wrister — a shot that Halak would easily save in previous outings — past Halak’s glove side; it then continued to spiral out of control.
Halak was later pulled with 5:07 remaining in the second period after Loui Eriksson hammered home a power play goal to give the Canucks a 5-3 lead.
“I don’t think he was playing very well, to be honest with you. He wasn’t tracking pucks well,” Cassidy said candidly about Halak’s performance.
“It was just one of those nights where pucks just find a way to go in. We have to quickly put it behind us and get ready for the weekend,” Halak said. “We have to be better as a group and that’s the bottom line.We have to regroup quickly, we have two tough games. Sometimes some right bounces or bad goals go in but as a goalie you have to have a short memory, forget about those and try to stop the next one.”
Rask, however, didn’t fare much better and gave up three goals on just 14 shots, none of them worse than his shorthanded blunder in the third period with the game still within reach. The Bruins headed to the power play – and eventually a two-man advantage – down 6-4 and had an opportunity at least to cut the deficit in half.
Instead, Rask came out to field a loose puck near the top of the circle and attempted to advance the puck up ice, however, he sent the puck right to Horvat’s stick, gifting the Canucks an easy empty-net goal and essentially putting the game out of reach.
“I would have liked to get some more wood on that. I messed up so my mistake,” Rask said. “It’s never easy but you try to be ready and you know go out there and do some damage control.”
The Bruins are hoping that Thursday’s performance was just an anomaly, as they have to get things together quickly with Toronto and Vegas coming into town on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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