Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

How Rask rewarded Bruins for giving him the start against Stars

Matt Kalman
November 05, 2018 - 11:52 pm

Tuukka Rask didn’t have time to have dinner with his old teammate Anton Khudobin while the Dallas Stars were in town for an off day Sunday.

The current Bruins goaltender and his old backup discussed the situation prior to the Bruins-Stars game during the warmups Monday and determined that when they’re both in Dallas prior to a rematch Nov. 16 they’ll have to make up for their missed meal.

The way things went in the Bruins’ 2-1 win at TD Garden, Rask should probably pick up the check.

Rask was the less-busy goaltender with 24 saves, while Khudobin had to make 33 stops and the difference was a Brad Marchand overtime goal that came on a 5-on-3.

The way things have gone for Rask this season, he can’t worry about how he got the win. He can only be satisfied that in his first start in 10 days he improved to 4-3-0 with a .909 save percentage.

“I just wanted to be solid, feel good about the game. I think at the end of the day it was a pretty decent game from my part too,” Rask said. “Doesn’t matter really if there’s a two-day break or 10-day break, don’t let it affect your focus and mental preparation, it’s part of the job. It’s good to get the win.”

It took more mental fortitude for Rask to get over the goal he allowed, just 3:51 into the game, than it took for him to be ready to play after a long layoff. With the Bruins on the power play, Dallas forward Radek Faksa took what looked like a harmless wrist shot from outside the left circle on the rush. On first glance it looked like Rask just missed it, but defenseman Torey Krug confirmed after the game he tipped it out high and the puck “dipped” away from Rask.

“So it’s a tough one for him but he responded great, he made some big saves for us,” Krug said.

Rask came up big late in the third period when the Bruins were killing a penalty, making a big save while on John Klingberg while his goalie stick was a few feet away and then making up for his own giveaway by stopping Valeri Nichushkin later during the man-advantage.

The Bruins took Rask off the hook by tying the score during the same power play that Dallas scored. David Pastrnak scored the power-play goal and then Marchand earned the Bruins the extra point. Rask rewarded the Bruins’ faith in him for not riding Jaroslav Halak’s hot hand a little longer after the Slovak allowed three goals the past two games and continued to lead the league in goals-against average (1.45) and save percentage (.952).

“I think it’s great,” Rask said. “He’s been ... I think his numbers are probably the best in the league. So you could play him until he gets gassed or has a bad game, but I don’t think that’s the situation we want to be in. I think we want to have two good goalies playing at a high level and never lose a game. That’s kind of how we think it, but obviously if you let the other guy sit on the bench for two or three weeks, it’s not beneficial to anybody.”

The Bruins will play three games in four nights starting Thursday, so there should be plenty of playing time to go around. And as long as Rask can continue to adjust to the lighter workload, he’ll get his fair share and have plenty to talk about with Khudobin the next time he sees the Stars.

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