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.”