When the Boston Bruins signed goalie Tuukka Rask to an eight-year deal worth $56 million in 2013, they cemented their goaltender position for the foreseeable future. Rask’s play this year has fluctuated; sometimes he’s been lights out (e.g. shutting out the Arizona Coyotes on October 27) and other times he’s looked like a backup beer league goalie (allowing 15 goals in the first three games of the season).
On Military Appreciation Night at TD Garden on Thursday, November 12, the Bruins were looking for Rask to defend the net against the Colorado Avalanche. For the first half of the first period the Bruins came out strong and handed Rask a quick 2-0 lead. Rask wasn’t really tested however, the second half of the first frame was a different story. Rask ended up facing 7 shots and let 2 of them in. Which Rask would the Bruins get tonight?
The second period was Rask’s best period. He was tested early and often. Rask came up huge during a 4-on-4 with 14 minutes remaining in the period to keep the game tied at 2. Facing a barrage of shots from Colorado’s offense, he stopped three quick shots and thanked his best friend, the post, as a Nathan MacKinnon shot hit the iron and deflected out of the crease. He came up with another big save on a partial breakaway by Cody McLeod a few minutes later.
A mistake by the Bruins defense lead to Matt Duchene beating Rask with a one timer for his 7th goal of the season and a 3 to 2 Colorado lead. Unfortunately for Rask and Bruins’ fans, the Boston offense was unable to respond.
“I don’t know, sometimes maybe you seem to work harder than the other games but I think the effort has been there,” said Rask when asked if there were any questions in his mind about the effort from the team this season. “I think we are working hard but I guess you have to work smart too and try to eliminate the mistakes and play mature hockey. Sometimes, especially at home, we just haven’t done that. It’s just the reality.”
Although Rask made some difficult saves throughout the game, for someone making $7 million a year, the Bruins organization needs Rask to steal a few games for them. The contest against Colorado was one of those games.