Bruins

Rask starts season as a front-line starter should

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Rask starts season as a front-line starter should

BOSTON -- No longer in the shadows of Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask began his tenure as the Bruins' No. 1 goaltender on Saturday night.

It's not the first time he's been the team's go-to 'tender. He got the nod over Thomas down the stretch the season before Thomas' heroic Stanley Cup run. So it's not as if being a No. 1 in the NHL -- or even for the Bruins -- was something new.

What was new was the dynamic that was Thomas' non-existence inside the TD Garden on Saturday night as Rask made 20 saves and allowed just one goal in Boston's 3-1 win over the New York Rangers in the season-opener.

This is Rask's job now. He's the top dog in net for the Bruins. And he played like it on Saturday, showing up the reigning Vezina Trophy winner -- Henrik Lundqvist in the process.

"I felt good throughout the game," said Rask after the win. "The guys made my job so easy because I saw pretty much everything."

That wasn't the case in the team's only exhibition tune-up before the shortened, lockout-plagued season began.

Rask allowed six goals on Tuesday night to Boston's AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. Most admitted that the defense in front of him just wasn't very good.

On Saturday night, the Bruins' defense made big-time improvements, helping Rask to a night of clean looks.

"I thought he was poised," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the win. "And like I explained to a lot of the guys this week, especially after Tuesday's game, is, it's important right now that when you look at what's going on -- even watching games this afternoon --you see that the minute somebody makes a mistake up front, you've got the defense, and then if the defense makes a mistake, you've got the goaltender. But the goaltender has nobody behind him. So he's often the easy target. And we had to be better in front of him. And we weren't as good in front of him, on Tuesday, as we knew we can.

"I thought our guys did a better job, which allowed Tuukka to see the puck better, and he was able to make some key saves," added Julien. "I thought he was solid. And the goal they scored, everybody did everything well. We were all back and it hit a skate and it was a last-second screen in front of him where he lost sight of it. It was absolutely no way his fault."

The Rangers' only goal came on a Brad Richards wrister from the right point. It was the result of a broken play, after Richards attempted to send a pass across the slot, down to a wide-open Rick Nash in the left circle. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron did his job and blocked the initial pass, but the puck came right back to Richards, who wasted no time firing on net, and it beat a screened Rask upstairs.

"I think a couple of guys skated past my eyes there, and I just saw it at the last second," said Rask. "It was kind of one of those floppers that was kind of going left and right. So, it was a good shot."

"The goal they scored, I don't think there was anything he could do about it," said Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference. "So, that's a pretty good start to the season, I'd say."

Rask said that he doesn't have a specific goal in mind, with regards to the number of starts he'd like to make as the team's bonafide No. 1 goalie. Regardless of the number, his teammates in front of him are confident he'll be able to handle the workload, after seeing this type of start to the season.

"I think he is a pretty competitive guy, knowing that he's stepping into the No. 1 spot," said Ference. "He's going to put a lot of good pressure on himself, so I think everybody has full confidence in him."

Bruins spoil Julien's return to Boston with victory over Canadiens, 4-1

Bruins spoil Julien's return to Boston with victory over Canadiens, 4-1

BOSTON – It was a nice night for Claude Julien in his return to Boston with a well-done video montage and a warm ovation from the still-appreciative Bruins fans. But that’s where it ended for the Habs coach as his hockey club pretty much no-showed for the game and rolled over in a 4-1 win for the Bruins at TD Garden on Wednesday night. 

The Canadiens scored the game’s first goal just 31 seconds into the game when a Jakub Jerabek perimeter shot bounced off Zdeno Chara in front and skipped past Tuukka Rask. But it was all Black and Gold after that with David Pastrnak tying things up six minutes later, and the Bruins outshooting the Habs by a 13-7 margin in the second period while extending their lead. 

This time it was Ryan Spooner taking the puck to the net and watching as his centering pass attempt bounced off Jonathan Drouin’s skate and into the net. It was three goals in his last four games for Spooner, who had to feel a pretty big sense of satisfaction at netting the game-winner against a coach he clearly didn’t see eye-to-eye with early in his B’s career. 

Brad Marchand added a necessary power play strike in the third period to give Boston the insurance marker that they needed, but it didn’t really matter against a Canadiens team that was pretty lifeless for long stretches of the game. 

Tuukka Rask stopped 21 shots and went into lockdown mode after the first goal allowed, but truth be told the Canadiens didn’t have much in the way of quality chances throughout the game. David Krejci added the empty net goal late in the third for icing on the cake in a pretty one-sided affair for a Boston/Montreal rivalry game. 

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Isaiah Thomas likes video of Jalen Rose calling Paul Pierce 'petty'

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Isaiah Thomas likes video of Jalen Rose calling Paul Pierce 'petty'

Just when all the video tribute controversy between Isaiah Thomas and Paul Pierce seemed to be dying down, Jalen Rose heated it right back up.

Live on ESPN's "NBA Countdown," Rose called Pierce "petty" for his comments on the Celtics potentially holding a video tribute for Isaiah on Feb. 11 when Pierce gets his jersey retired.

Jalen Rose called Paul Pierce petty right to his face... 😳

A post shared by DIME on UPROXX (@dimemagazine) on

Thomas tweeted on Tuesday that he (again) declined the Celtics' offer to hold the tribute for him so it wouldn't interfere with Pierce's night. But if you look at the likes on the Instagram video above, posted by dimemagazine, you'll see Thomas appears to agree with Rose on the matter.

It doesn't look like the video tribute drama is going to end until the Feb. 11 matchup between the Celtics and Cavaliers is over with.