Bruins

Rask answers Bruins' call against mighty Lightning

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Rask answers Bruins' call against mighty Lightning

BOSTON – It wasn’t a spectacular, stand-on-his-head performance from Tuukka Rask on Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. But it didn't have to be.

Rask simply made the key save at the vital part of the game and played well when called upon in making 19 stopsin Boston’s 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden. He's struggled pretty much all season, but made the clutch stop at the important time in the game.

Certainly it was the kind of winning performance that the Bruins require out of both goalies, but weren’t getting anything close to out of their No. 1 (Rask) this season.

“He’s a goalie, he’s a pro, and he’s a competitor," said coach Bruce Cassidy. "I think at some point as a goalie, you need wins. Was this the time? Probably. There’s a lot of chatter lately. So for him to step up and get it done, and for us to play well in front of him – not have to stand on his head, that’s the other thing. . . . I think he’s going to feel good about it and sleep well tonight.”

While it’s pretty clear the pressure was squarely on Rask headed into the start against the NHL’s most explosive offense, the Finnish netminder brushed a lot of those notions off after the game like they were Tampa testing shots from the outside. Instead he saved his best on a side-to-side kicking leg pad save on a Nikita Kucherov bid in the final 30 seconds of the second period, and also had the good fortune of a Tyler Johnson net drive harmlessly bounce off the far post at a precarious time in the game.

Rask gave up a couple of goals, but talso seemed to have a unique ability to step right back into his role.

“I needed it. I need [the wins]. It was good to see, there was a post-and-out today. That’s always a positive,” said Rask. “So enjoy the little things I guess, because you know, so many times [the second period scoring shot] hits my heel and goes in, and today it didn’t.

“Well those are the saves the people expect you to make, and you talk about after the game that, you should have saved that and keep the lead,’ and now you talk that it was a timely save. So it’s something that you always do, you want to do, and you try to do, and hopefully more often than not you actually save those.”

On Wednesday night, Rask made those timely saves against the mighty Lightning, and is simply hoping to be able to extend a winning streak.

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Talking Points: Marchand puts Bruins on his shoulders late

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Talking Points: Marchand puts Bruins on his shoulders late

GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand decided to put the team on his shoulders late in the game, and not allow the Bruins to lose in Detroit. Marchand snapped off a slick cross-ice pass to David Pastrnak for the game-tying goal late in the third period with the goalie pulled, and then scored on a filthy backhanded finish in a breakaway in the 3-on-3 OT. Marchand finished with five shot attempts, a goal, two points and a plus-1 rating in 21:27 of ice time, and should put these highlights in his greatest hits reel for Hart Trophy consideration at the end of the year. Marchand is so fun to watch in those moments when he elevates his game with everything on the line, mainly because he is one of the few players that can do it.

BLACK EYE: Henrik Zetterberg looked every bit of his 37 years of age in this game finishing with a minus-3 and with just one shot on net during an otherwise decent, disciplined effort from the Red Wings. Zetterberg is really the poster boy for all that’s wrong with Detroit through no fault of his own where he’s a reminder of past Red Wings glory, but he’s not a player that should be around anymore as they build around younger players. Zetterberg can still play in the league and be pretty good, but he’s also not what he used to be when the Red Wings were perennial Cup contenders. It’s amazing that he was on ice for all three of the goals scored by the B’s in this one.

TURNING POINT: Bruce Cassidy pulled the goalie with slightly less than two minutes to go in the third period, and it turned into a good call as the Bruins skill players went to work with a scrambling Red Wings group on the ice. Marchand authored an elite, cross-ice pass through three Red Wings players in the middle of the ice to a waiting David Pastrnak for the game-tying goal, and that at least guaranteed the Bruins a single point in a game where they hadn’t played really well. That’s what good teams do: Grind out points when they’re not at their best, and somehow find ways to win some of those games by any means necessary.

HONORABLE MENTION: Noel Acciari helped the Bruins get some energy in the third period when he scored a gritty goal in front of the Red Wings net on a loose puck. Acciari attacked the end boards after the Red Wings had won a defensive zone face-off and forced a turnover on the exchange between Detroit D-men. That aggressive play turned into a shot at the Boston net from Tim Schaller, and then a follow-up from Acciari where he spotted the loose puck and flipped it past Jimmy Howard for the Bruins first goal of the game. Acciari only ended up with a shot on net and two hits in 10:50 of ice time, but it was exactly the kind of contribution that every team is looking for from their fourth line. Acciari came up big in this game.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5 – the number of wins in a row for Tuukka Rask, who made 31 saves and played solid for a Bruins team that didn’t play very good hockey in front of him for most of the game. 

QUOTE TO NOTE:  “I didn’t see even see Marchy. I thought he was going to shoot it, and I just saw it at the last second. It wasn’t an easy shot and it was coming in pretty hot, but I got it down on the ice and was shooting at an empty net.” – David Pastrnak, on receiving the cross-ice pass from Brad Marchand through three Detroit defenders for the game-tying goal in the final minutes. 

Bruins tie it late, beat Red Wings 3-2 in OT behind Marchand

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Bruins tie it late, beat Red Wings 3-2 in OT behind Marchand

DETROIT -- In just over two minutes, Brad Marchand stole another victory for the Boston Bruins.

Marchand assisted on the tying goal late in regulation and scored the game-winner 35 seconds into overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night. Boston managed only two shots on goal in the first period but twice rallied from a one-goal deficit for its ninth win in 11 games.

"It's big," Marchand said. "Just shows the character that we have in the room and that we're really learning a lot."

Detroit has dropped 10 of 11, although the Red Wings have earned a point in five of those losses.

David Pastrnak tied it with 1:26 remaining in the third period, extending his point streak to nine games. The Bruins had pulled goalie Tuukka Rask with more than two minutes left, and Marchand's pinpoint pass from the right side made it through traffic to Pastrnak at the left of the net. His 15th goal of the season sent the game to overtime.

"A lot of times it's tough to get those through," Marchand said. "One out of 10 or one out of 20, whatever. But luckily that one made it through and we were able to capitalize."

In the extra period, Marchand skated in ahead of defenseman Mike Green and stickhandled to the right before backhanding the puck past goalie Jimmy Howard from a sharp angle.

"We've played way too many games this season where we played good and came up short," Detroit's Tomas Tatar said. "Maybe that's showing us something. We have to be better somewhere."

Noel Acciari scored the other goal for Boston. Dylan Larkin and Tatar scored for Detroit.

Tatar opened the scoring on a second-period power play, beating Rask only 13 seconds after Patrice Bergeron received a minor penalty for tripping. Tatar's wrist shot made it through with teammate Justin Abdelkader standing in front of the net as a screen.

Pastrnak, playing his 200th career game, nearly tied it moments later when he skated in behind the Detroit defense, but Howard stopped him.

"In the end, we got it going eventually. There's a lot of pride in that room. We knew we needed to be better," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. "In fairness, Detroit hasn't won much lately, but their will to block shots and keep the puck out of their nets was tremendous. You've got to give them credit."

Acciari tied it early in the third after a scramble in front of the net, and Boston went on the power play when Green was whistled for holding. But Larkin scored short-handed on a breakaway to put Detroit up 2-1.

The Red Wings couldn't hold onto that lead either, giving up the tying goal after the Bruins were able to set up in the Detroit zone.

"I think we got a little bit tired, so we didn't have enough pressure below the tops of the circles. We don't want to be that passive," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I thought we were in the right places, but we didn't make a play on the puck. Ultimately, the puck went through multiple guys. It's a good play by Marchand. But we certainly were in the right spots, we've just got to make a play on the puck."

NOTES: The Red Wings ended up with only a 33-32 edge in shots despite a 9-2 advantage in the first. ... Marchand has 12 goals and 13 assists this season.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

Red Wings: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.

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