Bruins

Rask as 'comfortable' as Cassidy has seen him all season

bruins_tuukka_rask_120217.jpg

Rask as 'comfortable' as Cassidy has seen him all season

PHILADELPHIA – Saturday afternoon was another positive step for Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask in reestablishing himself as an elite goalie.

There were no spectacular saves and both Rask the Bruins were on the right side of a successful goalie interference challenge at the end of the second period, but credit where it’s due to the Bruins No. 1 goalie for stopping 28 shots in a 3-0 win for the B’s over the Flyers. It was Rask’s first shutout this season and the first time all season that the Bruins netminder has won consecutive starts.

As Bruce Cassidy said after the game was over, it was as “comfortable” as Rask has looked this season and that’s something that bodes well moving forward.

“Tuukka looked as comfortable as I’ve seen him all year. He was efficient in the net,” said Bruce Cassidy of Rask, who improved to a .906 save percentage (tied for 25th in the NHL with Matt Murray) and a 2.65 goals against average (tied for 11th in the NHL with Braden Holtby and Roberto Luongo) on the season. “I sound like a broken record, but we need both goalies playing well and especially your No. 1 [needs that.] For him to find his game, feel good about it and get wins, I’m sure he’s feeling really good about his game. He should be. I thought he looked comfortable and square. It didn’t look like they were going to get anything by him, at least that’s what I saw.”

Perhaps just as important as Rask looking confident on his angles and aggressive challenging shooters, the Bruins team also played tight, strong and supportive defense in front of him. For one of the few times all season, everything really came together for both the B’s and Rask while working together on the ice.

“I felt solid, but I thought we just had a really good game. The second period they had a couple of rushes because we didn’t reload, but the PK did a terrific job the whole night. It was a team effort again,” said Rask. “There were a couple of odd-man rushes in the second, but other than that we cleared the net front very well, and I pretty much saw every puck.

“I’ve said that you just have to believe the bounces are going to start going your way. Today we got one call with the goalie interference, and I thought there was no question about it. Those are the little things that make a big difference in the results.”

Now the Bruins will look to keep things rolling with Anton Khudobin on Monday night in Nashville against the Predators, where he’ll be looking to extend to a personal five-game winning streak that would really start putting Boston’s puck-stopping tandem in a rarified spot. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Morning Skate: Want any cheese with that whine, Isles?

new-york-islanders-john-tavares-121217.jpg

Morning Skate: Want any cheese with that whine, Isles?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while trying to figure out when exactly I’m going to be able to go see the new Star Wars movie.

*The New York Islanders were crying in their beer over the fact that Brad Marchand side-stepped a suspension and claimed it was because John Tavares didn’t writhe around, kick and scream on the ice like a soccer player. The truth is the play wasn’t the kind of thing that’s going to injure a player under normal circumstances but was clearly a late, uncalled for hit. That’s why it got the five-minute major penalty and nothing more. Threatening to give an award-winning acting performance next time in order to try and get a suspension for an opposing player just sounds like crybaby soup from the Isles. Buckle the chin strap and get ready to play a contact sport next time, particularly if you’re Tavares, who was hacking at Charlie McAvoy’s legs with your stick like you’re Paul Bunyan chopping at a piece of wood. It works both ways, you know?

*The Winnipeg Jets continue to be one of the excellent, unsung stories of the NHL’s first half as they really take hold at the top of the Western Conference.

*Here’s a good piece on Jonathan Quick and what his good health has meant to a resurgent Los Angeles Kings team this season.

*Former Boston College standout goalie Thatcher Demko is way ahead of schedule in the Vancouver Canucks organization, but they’re not looking to rush him.

*Here’s a great video of a youngster playing the Star-Spangled Banner on the violin prior to a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. Well done, young lady!

*Pro Hockey Talk as the details of the Ducks and Red Wings getting into a fight on Monday night ahead of the Bruins traveling to Hockeytown for a Wednesday night showdown.

*For something completely different: A list of the 10 actors who could replace Ben Affleck as Batman now that DC has given up the charade that they’re not intending to replace him underneath the cowl.

 

Spooner travels with Bruins but questionable for Detroit

bruins_ryan_spooner_122815.jpg

Spooner travels with Bruins but questionable for Detroit

BRIGHTON, Mass – Ryan Spooner has practiced in each of the past two days, but his status is still in question for the back-to-back Bruins games against the Red Wings and Capitals over the next couple of days.

Spooner has missed the past couple of games with a lower-body injury after playing in the previous five contests following a month-long layoff with a groin injury. The current injury is believed to be similar in nature to the original groin problem and that’s the reason the Bruins are treating it cautiously as they approach Wednesday night’s game in Detroit.

MORE BRUINS:

“He’s practicing fully with the team, and the long and short of it is that he’s still day-to-day. We’ll decide [on Wednesday] but we just want to keep moving forward with him,” said Bruce Cassidy, who also mentioned that Kevan Miller was missing from practice to be with his wife for the birth of their child. “We’ve had a couple of stops and starts with him, so we’re going to manage it to the best of our ability so we’re moving forward [in his recovery]. He’ll travel with the team, and if we decide that he’s in the lineup [vs. the Red Wings] then Donnie [Sweeney] and I will talk about how that’s going to affect our roster.”

Spooner has played 10 games this season, with a goal and four points in the intermittent action. It’s too bad as Spooner has been pretty good when healthy and has played with speed and a higher level of competitiveness this season when he’s actually suited up.

The problem with Spooner’s return at this point, however, is that the Bruins have a third line of Danton Heinen, Riley Nash and David Backes that’s been gaining traction in recent days and had a monster game vs. Arizona last week. A return from injured reserve for Spooner would mean that the Bruins finally have to make a tough roster choice. Either put a player such as Frank Vatrano on waivers or send a young player such as Sean Kuraly down who deserves to stay based on his performance.

With Spooner’s status in question for the next two games, here are the line combos and D-pairings from Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena with Tuukka Rask set to get the start Wednesday night in Detroit:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Bjork

Heinen-Nash-Backes

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Vatrano-Spooner-Beleskey

 
Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Postma

McQuaid

 
Rask

Khudobin