Talking Points: Rask, Bruins bear down and bounce back

Talking Points: Rask, Bruins bear down and bounce back

GOLD STAR: Tuukka Rask was just a little bit better than Blues goaltender Jake Allen in a puck-stopping exhibition put on by the two goalies. Rask was at his best in the third period on a combination save kicking out a Joel Edmundson shot, and then somehow fully extending with a glove save on a Jaden Schwartz point blank rebound bid. That was the most show-stopping of his 32 saves behind a Bruins defense that did a good job of clearing pucks around him, but Rask was simply solid with positional saves and good technique. The win pushes him to a 19-game personal point streak with a 17-0-2 record, which is the fourth-longest streak in B’s history behind only Gerry Cheevers, Pete Peeters and Frank Brimsek.

BLACK EYE: Vladimir Tarasenko got a late assist on a Blues goal in the final two minutes of the game, but he was pretty terrible most of the night for St. Louis. Tarasenko finished with just a single shot on net and four giveaways in his 21:08 of ice time, and it was his hooking penalty on Torey Krug that set up the eventual power play game-winner for the Black and Gold. The Blues certainly got some good performances from players like Jaden Schwartz and Jake Allen in their Thursday night road meeting in Boston, but Tarasenko looked like he never really got in the flow after choosing to get in David Backes’ face pretty early in the game. Perhaps he had his head on a swivel the rest of the night after the confrontation with his former captain.

TURNING POINT: It was as simple as getting the jump on the Blues and scoring the game’s first goal for the first time in nine games. David Krejci scored a controversial goal in the first period that was upheld by a goalie interference challenge, and that gave the Bruins a chance to play front-runners for the first time in a while. The Bruins improved to 19-1-5 this season in games where they scored the game’s first goal and immediately were able to dictate terms for the rest of the game against an admittedly hard-nosed Blues bunch. Getting off to a strong start is something the Bruins were shooting to change in their makeup after slacking over the last 10 or so games, and it’s no coincidence they did exactly that in a winning effort on Thursday.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Backes was determined to do some damage against his old Blues team on Thursday after feeling like the emotion sucked away some of his energy in each of the two meetings last season. Backes did just that with a season-high eight shots on net and five registered hits while playing both the power game and the offensive game that he’s still clearly capable of kicking up when the mood inspires him. Backes was a beast in and around the front of the net, and finally got rewarded with the empty net goal with just 0.4 seconds on the clock in the third period. Backes did everything well in his 18:01 of ice time, and saved one of his best shifts for the end of the game when he rocked Brayden Schenn with a big hit and then scored the empty netter.

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 – the number of goals that Patrice Bergeron has in his last 13 games as he continues to swing a hot stick in all situations.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The guys really battled. It was probably our most complete game where we had to battle and win pucks all over the ice.” –David Backes, on a solid 3-1 win over the Blues where the Bruins had to fight, grind and grit their way against a big, heavy Western Conference team.


Morning skate: Why BU's Dave Quinn is leaving for the Rangers

nbC Sports Boston Illustration

Morning skate: Why BU's Dave Quinn is leaving for the Rangers

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while not at all minding a Tampa/Vegas Stanley Cup Final, though I think Winnipeg still has a few cards up their sleeve to play.

*Boston University head hockey coach Dave Quinn will be the latest to jump from the college ranks to the NHL ranks as he’s headed to New York as the Rangers head coach. A tough call for Quinn, who could have stayed at BU as a lifetime gig, but the presence of people like Jeff Gorton and Chris Drury and the high-profile nature of the Rangers gig certainly must have made it too difficult to pass up. 

*Marian Hossa is sadly calling it a hockey career after a skin condition sidelined him a couple of years ago, and will be joining the Chicago Blackhawks organization. 

*Interesting Q&A with Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee about the Stanley Cup dreams in Vegas, and what it’s been like to watch the organization grow this season. 

*A brand new coach’s corner with Don Cherry talking about the importance of goaltending at this time of year with both Marc-Andre Fleury and Andrei Vasilevskiy standing out right now. 

*Ryan Callahan has inspired the Tampa Bay Lightning with his courageous play this season, and has certainly been a difference-maker on the fourth line for the Bolts. 

*Wondering what’s going on with the Philadelphia Flyers? Here’s a mailbag to keep you up to date with it all. 

Report: BU hockey coach Quinn to take Rangers job

AP Photo

Report: BU hockey coach Quinn to take Rangers job

Boston University hockey coach David Quinn has agreed to a five-year, $12 million contract to become the New York Rangers coach, according to an ESPN report.

Quinn, 51, replaced college hockey legend Jack Parker at BU in 2013 and was 105-67-21 with the Terriers, reaching three NCAA regional finals with a runner-up finish for the national championship in 2015. Parker won 897 games in 40 years at BU, the third-most all-time and most for a coach at a single school.

Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury and veteran defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk played at BU. Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada and Bob McKenzie of TSN had each tweeted that Quinn was the leading candidate to replace Alain Vigneault as Rangers coach. Vigneault was fired the day after the regular season ended. New York finished 34-39-9 and last in the Metropolitan Division. 

The Rangers traded away veterans, including winger Rick Nash to the Bruins, at the trade deadline as they fell out of the playoff race and will likely try to rebuild with younger players under Quinn.