Talking Points: Tuukka Rask outplays Carey Price
Tuukka Rask made 29 saves and was brilliant for the Bruins against a team (the Canadiens) and in a building (the Bell Centre) where things haven’t really gone swimmingly for him in the past. The B’s netminder outplayed his longtime rival Carey Price, and no save was bigger than a third period two-pad stacked save against Tomas Plekanec with Montreal coming down the ice for a 2-on-1 started by Brendan Gallagher. Rask did lose the shutout in the final minutes of regulation as has happened to him a handful of times this season, but he was perfect before and after the one blemish to earn the rare victory in Montreal.
Max Pacioretty was close to invisible in this one with three giveaways and three shots on net in 22:31 of ice time. Pacioretty wasn’t really involved in any of the near scoring chances for the Canadiens early in the game, and wasn’t much of a factor once the intensity level got bumped up late in the opening period. Instead Pacioretty skated his lane and stayed out of the fray for the most part, and was largely invisible for a player that’s expected to be a factor just about every night for the Canadiens. Pacioretty has been a Bruins killer at times in the past, but he was far from in this one.
The turning point for the Bruins was overtime as they dominated puck possession while outshooting the Habs by a 2-0 margin, and finally ending it with the Ryan Spooner give-and-go play with Torey Krug. The Bruins badly needed to bounce back after allowing the game-tying goal in the final few minutes of regulation, and did just that with their play in an extra session that’s been pretty good to them this season. It could have easily turned into a moment where the Bruins got overwhelmed by the moment at the raucous Bell Centre, but that didn’t happen on Monday night.
Ryan Spooner finished with a goal and an assist, and had a hand in both goals while dutifully playing the left wing position alongside Austin Czarnik and Jimmy Hayes in a new-look third line. Spooner was hustling to back-check on the play in the second period that kick-started the Austin Czarnik goal, and then he finished things off with a skilled one-on-one finishing move after working the give-and-go with Torey Krug in overtime. The two points and the plus-2 rating for Spooner was a high moment against the Habs in what’s been a mostly down season, and point toward the speedy forward perhaps getting into a groove offensively that the B’s desperately need.
BY THE NUMBERS
7 – the number of registered hits for David Backes, who made sure to make an impression in the Bruins/Habs rivalry with his physical play while trying out a spot with new linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"It was a duel of two of the best goaltenders around. It was nice to see [Tuukka] win this duel and stand tall for us. It was a close game and he was the better goalie tonight.” – Claude Julien, on Tuukka Rask after his 29-save effort against the Canadiens in a big overtime win.