Rask ‘stepped up at the right times' in needed shutout


BOSTON – Tuukka Rask had been waiting for a game this season that he could feel really, really good about.

It ended up taking much longer than the Finnish netminder originally anticipated, but it finally happened with a complete defense and goaltending team effort in a 6-0 shutout win over the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden. It was Rask’s first home win of the season, his first shutout and the first game this season where allowed less than three goal in the game.

It was a modest 24 saves when it was all said and done, and most of them weren’t exactly in the high degree of difficulty category. But part of Rask’s trouble this season had been failing to stop all of the pucks that he’s supposed to stop, and that’s something he did with unfailing perfection for the first time this season.

“I felt good today, so I just try to keep that going. Obviously a shutout makes you look even better, but I felt good,” said Rask, who improved his numbers to a 3.67 goals against average and an .874 save percentage after the shutout. “I think the team felt good. The team looked good, so that’s a good building block for us and we’ll try to keep doing this.

“I thought we played a pretty tight game. Defensively, [it was] one of the better ones, overall 60 minutes. Not too many openings. We blocked a lot of shots. I saw the puck well. Good game.”

The timing was perfect for Rask, who had watched Jonas Gustavsson get a surprise start in Brooklyn last weekend in a game that might have otherwise been for the No. 1 goaltender if Rask was at the top of his game. Instead the backup goalie had two of Boston’s three wins on the season after solid, workmanlike performances, and it was up to Rask to respond with a performance that reaffirmed the trust and confidence in his game.

“He’s been a huge part of this team for a long time and this was a big game for him,” said Brad Marchand. “He stepped up at the right times and made a few big saves and that’s what we need out of him. It’s great that he got that shutout.”

The Bruins were quick to point out that it was just one game for Rask and a Bruins defense that’s been looking for major improvements, but it was exactly the game result that both goaltender and team defense needed to start holding their heads high again.

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