By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Just as fast as advertised coming into this series, the Toronto Maple Leafs turned into a one-goal hole into a two-goal edge in the blink of an eye in their Game 1 victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
Mike Babcock's club made it happen with a pair of goals from Mitch Marner (the second one by way of a penalty shot drawn on a shorthanded breakaway) and then a breakaway strike from William Nylander.
It was enough to give Rask an 18-of-21 mark at the 18:25 mark of the second period. But Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy had no interest in blaming his netminder for what transpired in front of a surly Boston crowd.
"Breakaways, breakdowns," Cassidy said of his team's Game 1. "So, I’m not going to put any of this on Tuukka."
The Nylander goal was a stoppable shot for the 32-year-old Rask.
It's a save the Bruins really needed to have at that point in the game. There's no denying that.
"I got [Nylander] where I wanted, and I felt it hit my stick, but I guess it was a bad save selection, because it went through," Rask offered after the loss. "I was tracking it to the corner, and it was behind in the net, but yeah."
But the Bruins did absolutely no favors for their goaltender in what was a downright brutal second period that featured four different breakaways or odd-man rushes on Boston's net. You could argue that Rask actually stopped the bleeding after the Nylander goal when the Bruins did anything but, as he came through with a breakaway stop 0n John Tavares and was saved by the bell in what looked to be the makings of a sure goal at the end of the second frame.
"I’ll state the obvious: we would have liked the breakaways, the penalty shots saved," said Cassidy. "Might be a different game. Their best player in my estimation scores a goal, plenty of time to come back. Right after that, [the Bruins] power play hits the post, maybe it’s a different game. We give up the next breakaway. I think that was our breakdown there and that was on us as a team. We’ve been exposed by them on those breakaways and you give up two, three in a row that period, so shame on us.
"So I don’t want to put this on Tuukka."
And for Rask, who finished with stops on 29 of 32 shots thrown his way, it's simply on to the next one.
"Go home, sleep, do work tomorrow, and then get ready for Saturday," Rask said when asked about moving forward. "Win or lose, that’s it. That’s the playoffs. That’s how you’ve got to kind of prepare yourself.
"You just move on."
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. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.