Rask named No. 1 star of week by NHL after four wins in seven days

Rask named No. 1 star of week by NHL after four wins in seven days

The Bruins have been riding a resurgent Tuukka Rask all season, and now it appears the rest of the league is starting to take notice.

Rask was named the No. 1 star of the week by the NHL on Monday afternoon ahead of Winnipeg Jets center Mark Schiefele and Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne. The Finnish netminder went 4-0-0 with a 0.75 goals-against average, .970 save percentage and two shutouts to lead the Bruins to four wins in five games over the last seven days, as well as a rise all the way to second place in the Atlantic Division. In fact the only game the Bruins lost over the busy week was the Tuesday night game in Montreal when backup netminder Zane McIntyre got the starting nod instead of Rask, and the B’s No. 1 goalie finished off the week by impressively playing both ends of a weekend back-to-back in Arizona and Colorado.

The 29-year-old Rask hares the NHL lead with 10 wins and three shutouts in 11 outings this season, and is third in the league with a .945 save percentage while ranking second with a 1.54 goals against average. Boston’s franchise goalie, coming off the worst season of his NHL career, is also the second goaltender in the Bruins’ 92-year history to win 10 of his first 11 appearances of a season, following the legendary Gerry Cheevers in 1976-77.

Clearly Rask has been dominant this season for the Black and Gold and deserves all of the accolades, but he also quick to compliment a defense that’s been solid behind on a much more consistent basis this year than last season.

“That’s how you win a road game -- a pretty much mistake-free game,” Rask told reporters in Colorado following Sunday’s shutout. “We kept them on the outside and really limited their scoring chances and rushes. And then we kept the puck in the offensive zone and made some plays and created chances.”

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

It might have caused a ripple when Ryan Donato wasn’t on the ice on Tuesday afternoon in St. Louis for Bruins practice on the day after his brilliant, three-point NHL debut for the Black and Gold. But the 21-year-old Donato was still back in the Boston area fulfilling some class requirements at Harvard University to help him close out the current semester properly, and not lose the credits that will keep him in line with fulfilling his junior year at Harvard University.

Believe it or not, the schoolwork is important to the newest member of the Boston Bruins and he intends to study and hit the books on his road trips, and also intends to take classes in the summertime to still graduate on time next season.

“I’m planning on finishing the semester academically. I want to finish the semester academically,” said Donato, after Monday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena prior to last night’s debut vs. Columbus. “Obviously it’s going to be something that’s difficult, but for me it was a dream to graduate from Harvard. I’m putting that off a little bit, but I need to be able to finish this semester in order to have that opportunity, and not put it off for another couple of years. I want to finish out the semester.”

Donato is also still living in the Harvard dorms while “moonlighting” as an NHL hockey player for the rest of the season, but that isn’t all so uncommon among some of the college players that leave school early. Charlie McAvoy was similarly living in the Boston University dorms last spring through Boston’s playoff run, and didn’t clear out of his college living situation until after the Black and Gold had been eliminated by the Ottawa Senators last April.

Missing practices on an NHL schedule is certainly a new one with, Donato, however, and takes the student-athlete concept to a whole new level for somebody that's already turned pro. One has to expect this was one of the things being discussed in full when the Donato family, Ryan's agent and the Bruins discussed his contract terms over the weekend before coming to an agreement.

Along with Donato, who is scheduled to fly into St. Louis and play against the Blues on Wednesday night, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, Rick Nash and Torey Krug were all missing from the ice at Tuesday’s team practice ahead of a four game road trip against Western Conference opponents.


Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

File photo

Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while not really digging these forecasts of more snow.

*You know, if he weren’t making millions and millions of dollars I might actually feel bad for ol' Claude Julien up in Montreal busting out the “We’re not a very good team” soliloquy with the Habs. That team flat out stinks this season and these past few weeks it can’t be fun at all being the head coach of that dumpster fire.

*Darren Dreger says there is no rush for the Toronto Maple Leafs to bring back Auston Matthews before he’s ready to go, and that’s absolutely the case so close to the playoffs.

*Here are five Hart Trophy-caliber players that won’t get a sniff of the voting, but deserve some attention nonetheless. There are no Bruins players on the list if you’re wondering, but some pretty good ones in Johnny Gaudreau and Aleksander Barkov.

*The NHL general managers are weighing potential changes to the goalie-interference interpretation ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

*While it still looks a Swedish defenseman is going to be the No. 1 overall pick this June, there are some other players rocketing up the list.

*For something completely different: The definitive ranking of Girl Scout cookies from best-to-worst that we’ve all been waiting for.

*Song of the Week: Haven’t done one of these in a long, long time, but I like this Calvin Harris/Katy Perry/Pharrell Williams tune that I hadn’t heard until the past couple of days.