Tuukka Rask’s tough luck continued in the Boston Bruins’ latest
game, when he got little support at either end while again failing
to earn his first victory.
Coach Claude Julien probably wouldn’t have had trouble choosing
his goaltender to face the Ottawa Senators anyway.
A quarter of Tim Thomas’ 20 shutouts have come against the
Senators – including one two weeks ago – and the 2008-09 Vezina
Trophy winner has yet to lose this season heading into Saturday
night’s meeting at TD Garden.
Rask unseated Thomas as Boston’s No. 1 goalie last season, but
Thomas has been earning the majority of the starts over his
teammate in 2010-11.
Thomas, 8-0-0 with a 1.39 goals-against average, defeated
Pittsburgh 7-4 on Wednesday before Julien called upon Rask the next
night against visiting Montreal. The Bruins (8-4-1) didn’t give him
much help, surrendering 41 shots and allowing two power-play goals
for the first time this season in a 3-1 loss.
Rask fell to 0-4-1 with a 2.75 GAA.
“We weren’t a very good team in front of him,” Julien said. “…
But I don’t know that I would go after him and say that he’s not
playing well. I think we need to help him out a little bit. When
goalies find their groove, it’s because the team in front of him
play maybe better than we have.”
Thomas hasn’t been great lately, either, allowing 3.0 goals per
game in three November starts and getting pulled Nov. 5 against
Washington. He yielded three total goals in his first six
However, he’s rarely had trouble against the Senators (8-7-1),
who were among the victims of Thomas’ hot start. He made 29 saves
in a 4-0 victory at Ottawa on Oct. 30 – his fifth shutout of the
Senators – and is 12-2-1 with a 1.49 GAA in his last 15 starts in
Some hostility could carry over from that contest. With just
over two minutes to play in the third period, Ottawa enforcer Chris
Neil picked a fight with Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
Considering the score at the time and their respective histories
– Neil has been involved in 113 career fights and Seidenberg two –
the Bruins weren’t pleased.
If Neil was looking to give his team a jolt of energy, it seemed
to work. Ottawa responded by winning four in a row prior to a 6-2
home loss to Vancouver on Thursday.
The Canucks scored four goals in the third period, two coming in
the first 1:11.
“Take away the first two shifts of that third period and we
didn’t play a bad game,” coach Cory Clouston said. “But they made
us pay for our mistakes.”
It was hardly the performance Pascal Leclaire was looking for in
his first game back from a groin injury that had kept him out since
Oct. 14. He fell to 0-3-1 with a 3.92 GAA.
Brian Elliott has gone 6-1-0 with a 2.29 GAA in his last seven
starts, the only loss coming against Boston. He’s been experiencing
what Clouston calls a “nagging injury,” however, making it anyone’s
guess who starts Saturday.
Elliott has gone 2-0-1 with a 1.63 GAA in three starts at TD
Whichever goalie gets the call could get a boost in front of
him. Filip Kuba, the team’s leading scoring among defensemen the
past two seasons, may make his 2010-11 debut after breaking his
right leg in training camp.