Rask comes up big as Bru­ins ad­vance to face Hur­ri­canes

The News-Times - - SPORTS -

COLUM­BUS, Ohio — The Bos­ton Bru­ins got some timely goals in their tight Eastern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nal se­ries with Colum­bus, and when the goals weren’t com­ing, Tuukka Rask stood tall.

The Finn turned in his best play­off per­for­mance so far in the 3-0 win over the Blue Jackets in Game 6 that clinched the se­ries and sent the Bru­ins into the con­fer­ence fi­nal against Carolina. Game 1 is Thurs­day night in Bos­ton.

The Blue Jackets played hard and forechecke­d well enough to win ev­ery game, but were zero for 10 on power-play chances in the fi­nal three games of the se­ries, all won by Bos­ton. Much of that was due to Rask, who had 39 saves in Mon­day’s game and did his part to shut down four Colum­bus power plays.

“We are half­way to our goal,” said for­ward David Backes, who scored Bos­ton’s fi­nal goal in the third pe­riod. “You need to rel­ish the plateaus along the way. We are cer­tainly at one of those to be among the fi­nal four teams. We’ve had to sac­ri­fice to win some games against some re­ally good teams.

“Now we can en­joy this for a day then have a happy flight home (Tues­day), then get ready for Carolina, who is well rested and ready for us,” he said.

David Kre­jci and Mar­cus Johansson also scored for the Bru­ins in Game 6. David Pas­tr­nak led the Bru­ins with four goals in the six games against Colum­bus.

“It was tight un­til the end,” Kre­jci said. “We learned from it and closed it out tonight the way we wanted to.”

Bos­ton won the first game of the se­ries in over­time, then fell to the Blue Jackets in OT in Game 2 and lost Game 3 by a goal be­fore rip­ping off the fi­nal three vic­to­ries. The Bru­ins are ad­vanc­ing to the con­fer­ence fi­nal for the first time since the 2012-13 sea­son, when they lost in the Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal.

Carolina swept the New York Is­lan­ders in their sec­ond-round se­ries.

“If you’re play­ing this time of year, you’re do­ing some­thing right,” Rask said. “You’ve built some­thing great as a team. We’re su­per happy that we’re in the po­si­tion. Try­ing to keep the train rolling.”

Bos­ton and the Carolina franchise will face each other in the post­sea­son for the fifth time. The Bru­ins won three of the pre­vi­ous se­ries, but Carolina won the most re­cent meet­ing in the 2009 con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals when Scott Walker scored in over­time in Game 7.

Bos­ton won the sea­son se­ries against Carolina 2-1, in­clud­ing an over­time vic­tory.

Bos­ton coach Bruce Sullivan said Carolina is like a mix of hard-hitting Colum­bus and speedy Toronto, which the Bru­ins beat in the open­ing round.

“I think they’re a lit­tle bit of both,” Cas­sidy said. “Young team. (De­fense­men) get up the ice. Flip goal­tenders and didn’t miss a beat. But we’ll look at it a lit­tle closer start­ing (Tues­day). Ob­vi­ously they’ve made it this far, they’re a very good hockey club. I don’t think you get this far by ac­ci­dent. So we’ll have our hands full. But we’re look­ing for­ward to it.”

Mad­die Meyer / Getty Images

Bru­ins goalie Tuukka Rask de­fends a shot from the Blue Jackets’ Cam Atkin­son dur­ing the sec­ond pe­riod on Sun­day in Bos­ton.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.