Boston Herald

Rask on his game again


In the past two games, Tuukka Rask has looked like the Vezina Trophy winner he was three years ago. So what’s changed? “Nothing,” Rask said last night after he and the Bruins shut out the Dallas Stars, 2-0, with 27 saves.

Rask won’t reveal the secret to his turnaround since a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last week extended his personal losing streak and the Bruins’ overall skid to four games. Rask then stayed home because of a lower-body injury when the Bruins went to New York and beat the Islanders, 2-1, on Saturday.

Regardless of the reason for the goaltender’s revitaliza­tion, the only thing that matters to the Bruins is that he’s returned to form. Rask’s shutout followed up his 24-save performanc­e in a 4-1 win against Nashville on Tuesday. It was Rask’s seventh shutout of the season, tying a career high.

The Bruins needed Rask more against the Stars than on most nights because of their sluggish play in front of him. They surrendere­d 27 shots on net and 58 shot attempts. And they allowed the Stars to take away the puck 20 times.

“I thought he earned his keep (last night),” Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy said about Rask, who improved to 35-20-4 with a .912 save percentage and 2.31 goals-against average. “He was our best player. We broke down, he was there. They were off net a few chances and I think from my vantage point his angles were so solid that there wasn’t much net to shoot at. He was under control. So it certainly makes it easier, but when you’re in your end that much it’s taxing on the goaltender, so I guess there’s both sides of that.”

The Stars missed the net 14 times, but Rask didn’t want to take the credit his coach was throwing his way.

“No, probably not. Just maybe the puck was bouncing or something,” he said. “Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don’t. (Last night) they did, that’s good.”

Rask wouldn’t take credit for the Stars being off-target, but the 11 saves he made in the third period were all him. The Bruins spent much of the final period defending and Rask was on top of his game, including during a double-minor penalty against defenseman Kevan Miller. The Stars landed just one shot on Rask, but it was a tough-angle wrist shot from the corner by defenseman Julius Honka that Rask had to kick out to the other side of the rink.

“They had a lot of chances,” Rask said. “But I saw them so that makes it easier. I mean positional­ly I tried to be in the right spot, and we blocked shots and then took care of the rebounds that were there. That’s a big difference.”

The Bruins wanted to rededicate themselves to defense after their fourgame losing streak. They’ve allowed two goals during their three-game winning streak, with Rask stopping 51-of-52 shots in the past two games.

“He’s been important for us,” Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said. “He’s seeing the puck well and he looks calm and composed in the net and he’s not moving too much. It’s a good sign for a goalie when you’re compact and you’re not moving and scrambling all over the place.”

 ?? STAFF PHOTO BY MATT STONE ?? PUCK STOPS HERE: Tuukka Rask makes a save during the Bruins’ win over the Stars last night at the Garden.
STAFF PHOTO BY MATT STONE PUCK STOPS HERE: Tuukka Rask makes a save during the Bruins’ win over the Stars last night at the Garden.

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