By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
What was Boston Bruins goaltender most happy about with his performance in a 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Monday? Well, for one, the 31-year-old was not given an early hook from Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.
“Well I finished the game,” Rask said, “I guess that qualifies as a lot better, we played good.”
A winner by way of his 28-of-31 performance, Rask’s lone bad mistake certainly came in the second period, as a Ryan Dzingel shot from the wall along the blue line to Rask’s right came in and beat him upstairs. It was Rask’s ugliest goal of the season to date (saying something), but one that came with multiple issues within the B’s d-zone, according to Cassidy.
In addition to a flash screen from the 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara, the Bruins were without a fifth skater on the ice in their defensive zone. They were, of course, playing at full strength when this happened, too.
“You had to ask, right?” Cassidy joked after a win. “You had to ask. Well, there’s four coaches on the bench and 15 players. We called Bergy’s line. Personally, I went down to talk to Anders [Bjork] about his shift, and I probably should’ve let that go to the assistant coaches, so I didn’t realize he wasn’t out there. And I can’t see into that far [corner] –I thought maybe they’d switched their lineup, maybe the right winger went to the wall. Then everyone started yelling, ‘Pasta,’ so when the puck drop all of a sudden that’s what happened. It’s always on the coach to get the right people out there, but by the same token his line was out there, and I just assumed he was on the ice lined up along the boards.”
Pastrnak, for what it’s worth, got on the ice and into the defensive zone. But it was long after the shot had already left Dzingel’s stick and through the Chara screen for Ottawa’s second goal of the afternoon.
“We’ll share responsibility on that one,” said Cassidy. “We’re just fortunate it didn’t come back to bite us in the ass.”
“First of all the faceoff guys just stood there after they dropped the puck. I was like, ‘What’s going on, what are we waiting for?'” Rask said of the play. “Then I counted the guys, there was four guys out there and next thing I know the puck is in our net and it’s one of those bang-bang plays that kind of happened quick. As a goalie, you have to be alert at all times.”
While Rask himself suffered from a brain cramp of sorts on that goal, following a dismal 14-of-19 showing in Washington last Wednesday, the effort and willingness to battle shown by Rask was encouraging to Cassidy and Co.
“He made some big saves,” Cassidy said of Rask’s performance. “He came out to absorb some traffic around the net, was more engaged in the game, willing to play the puck, so I thought he was good. A good bounce-back game for him.”
With the win, Rask now has 12 wins and a .928 save percentage in his 18 games following a start in which he gave up at least four goals since Cassidy took over as the team’s head coach in Feb. 2017.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.