Toucher & Rich

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NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty joined 98.5 The sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday to talk about the Bruins’ impressive 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, easily one of their best overall performances of the season.

All eyes were on starting goalie Tuukka Rask, who has not been at his best this season. He had his share of ups and downs, but did make some good saves when it counted. Still, Haggerty believes the goalie is still a ways off from getting where he needs to be as the Bruins’ No. 1 netminder.

“I think this is gonna be a process with Tuukka. I don’t think, overnight, he’s gonna get it all back and he’s gonna become the confident red-hot goaltender that’s gonna be able to carry you,” Haggerty said. “I think the days where he’s gonna be a real top-end, elite goaltender that can carry you, I think they may be over. I’ve said all along, or at least I’ve said this season, after watching him the last couple years he’s not as good as he used to be.

“But as far as now, he’s the best goalie that they have. They have their sights set on the playoffs, as they should. He’s the one who’s gonna get them there, if they do get into the playoffs. He’s by far the best option they have and the best goalie they have. It’s gonna be a process to get him back on track.”

One Bruins player who was excellent from start to finish was rookie wunderkind Charlie McAvoy, whom Haggerty says is ahead of where he thought he would be as a 19-year-old defenseman in the NHL – and could very soon turn them back into a Stanley Cup contender.

“It’s got to be exciting for Bruins fans that I think they have their next great defenseman in Charlie McAvoy that’s gonna be here a long time and is gonna carry that torch from Zdeno Chara,” said Haggerty. “Having a No. 1 defenseman, having a guy that can play like Charlie McAvoy – if he develops what he looks like he’s gonna turn into – that will make you a Stanley Cup contender a few years from now. Having a guy like that and you build around him with other players, you need that piece if you’re gonna win a cup. You need that franchise No. 1 D-man that can do everything, and it looks like the Bruins have him in McAvoy, and he’s just gonna get better and better.”

Listen above for the full interview!