Talking Points: Rask records 36th career shutout
Tuukka Rask finished with 25 saves in earning his second career shutout of the Montreal Canadiens, and his first career regular season win against the Habs on home ice. It wasn’t the toughest night that Rask has experienced against Montreal in terms of quality and quantity of scoring chances. But he did have to make some good stops like a second period kick save on Alex Radulov during an odd-man Habs rush while the game was still in question. The end result was also Rask’s 36th career shutout, moving him past Frank Brimsek into second place all-time on the Bruins franchise list behind Tiny Thompson. It doesn’t go all the way toward slaying the Habs beast in terms of career numbers for Rask, but a game like Sunday night can go a long way toward making them just another opponent for the Finnish netminder.
Shea Weber was absolutely invisible for the Canadiens. Weber finished with 25:10 of ice time, was a minus-2 rating and had zero shots on net along with just one hit and one blocked shot. He did a massive, wind-up slap shot that went about 10 feet wide of the net in the second period that made you stand up and take very little notice. Aside from that Weber wasn’t much of a blip on the radar screen at all for the Habs. It probably could have been worse and he could have done something underhanded like Nathan Beaulieu’s spear to Zdeno Chara’s groin, or Alex Galchenyuk’s two-handed stick swing to the face of Kevan Miller. Instead Weber played a polite game and then shuffled off with the rest of the Canadiens players as they lost 4-0.
After playing a dreadful second period against the Canucks on Saturday afternoon, the Bruins came back and blew the Canadiens off the ice with the way they played in the middle 20 minutes on Sunday night. They outshot the Habs by a 17-7 margin and scored a pair of goals to extend their advantage to a commanding three-goal lead while really crushing the spirit of a struggling group of Montreal players. The Bruins struck for a shorthanded Zdeno Chara goal driving the net that put Montreal on the ropes, and then a David Krejci power play strike after some fancy puck movement was really the final dagger for Les Habitants. It was a clinic by the Bruins in how to discourage an already discouraged hockey club, and give Boston credit for being the one handing out the lesson, rather than taking it, this time around.
Give it to Zdeno Chara, who did all of the yeoman work for the Bruins in the defensive zone and on the penalty kill in addition to scoring a sweet shorthanded goal in the second period. Chara finished with 26:36 of ice time to go along with a goal and a plus-2 rating along with three shot attempts, three registered hits, two blocked shots and the best pair of mitts you’re going to see on a 6-foot-9 defenseman in the NHL. While it doesn’t always happen in the thick of the NHL schedule,Sunday night was a good reminder that Chara still has a lot to give as a 39-year-old when it’s a big game and the Bruins need a big performance from the closest they have to a No. 1 D-man on their back end.
BY THE NUMBERS
2 – the number of assists for 21-year-old Peter Cehlarik in the Sunday night win over the Canadiens in only his second NHL game.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“There are no easy games in this league but specifically this week we’ve played against good hockey clubs. I hope they’re confident – they should be, they’ve played well.” – Bruce Cassidy, on the three-game winning streak for the Bruins under his guidance where they’ve beaten first place San Jose and first place Montreal.