Boston Bruins: Tuukka Rask Finally Solves Montreal Canadiens At Home With 4-0 Victory
It finally happened. Tuukka Rask beat the Montreal Canadiens in Boston. Despite shining in Montreal in recent appearances, the Bruins franchise goaltender had never beaten the rivaled Habs in a home game in 12 previous attempts.
It isn’t a secret that Montreal has had Rask’s number. Still, considering how good Rask has been throughout his career, it’s shocking to see his numbers prior to tonight when facing the Canadiens at home. In 12 games, the Finnish goalie posted a 0-9-3 record with a 3.25 goals against average and a .890 save percentage. In the first matchup between these two clubs with Bruce Cassidy as the head coach of the Bruins, however, Rask and his team seemed to have found their stride.
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The Bruins were able to limit the Canadiens to just 25 shots against and held them to zero goals. It was an impressive effort from start to finish from Boston, especially given the circumstances. Not only were the Bruins taking on a Montreal Canadiens team that’s had their number in recent years – they were taking on the first-place team in the Atlantic Division. Even more impressive was the fact that the Bruins played just one day earlier against the Vancouver Canucks.
Confidence Made the Difference
When watching Rask on Sunday, there was a noticeable difference in his confidence level. This isn’t to say that Rask doesn’t typically look confident when facing competition. When playing against the Canadiens, however, his history against the team in Boston has always lingered over his head. From start to finish Sunday, Rask simply looked calm and focused.
With a lack of a backup goaltender in Boston, Rask has always looked tired as of late. After a white-hot start to the season, Rask has been weaker on some easier saves lately for Boston. His struggles have been reflected on the scoreboard as well as the veteran netminder has allowed three or more goals in 11 of his last 15 starts – not a trend that the Bruins would like to see from their only reliable option in net.
With a day off Saturday and a win from Anton Khudobin against the Canucks, Rask stepped up to the plate Sunday and faced his own demons in a very successful way. The entire team has looked good following the coaching change from Claude Julien to Cassidy. Though it’s a small sample size, the team has rewarded their new coach with a fresh set of legs and a stronger, more consistent effort than the team has put up all season.