Tuukka Rask

Bruins-Flames Talking Points: B's return home with a thud in 5-2 loss

Bruins-Flames Talking Points: B's return home with a thud in 5-2 loss

GOLD STAR: Mikael Backlund was heavily involved for the Calgary Flames whether it was on the negative end on Brad Marchand’s shorthanded goal or his two goals in the third period that pushed the game out of reach for Boston. 

It was Backlund that threw a puck off the boards to move around Torey Krug while springing himself free for a breakaway before throwing a five-hole attempt through Tuukka Rask for the back-breaking insurance strike.

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Backlund then added insult to injury with an empty-netter to give him two goals on the night, a three-point performance and a plus-2 rating in 18:14 of ice time. Backlund finished with three shot attempts, one hit and two takeaways along with taking 25 draws in the Flames' win.

BLACK EYE: David Krejci might have been one of the players that Bruce Cassidy wasn’t exactly enamored with after the loss after his disinterested back-check on the back-breaking fourth Calgary goal in the third period. Krejci finished a minus-2 with just one shot on net in 16:23 of ice time and forced Cassidy to switch up the left wingers when it was clear both Krejci and Jake DeBrusk weren’t getting it going.

It’s perhaps understandable in the first home game after a long road trip through Western Canada, but it still merits mention that No. 46 wasn’t very good for the Black and Gold. He wasn’t alone, but that minimal effort on a big play in the game was notable.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins brought a little energy into their game when Marchand scored a shorthanded goal in the second period to tie things up at 1, but at that point, the wagon wheels fell off. 

Calgary scored with Boston’s best defensive players on the ice three minutes later when Johnny Gaudreau knifed through the middle of the defense before dishing to Sean Monahan for the one-timer from the high slot. Then the Bruins took a roughing call when Matt Grzelcyk stood up for Charlie McAvoy and five seconds later, the puck was in the back of the Boston net to essentially put things out of reach. 

The Bruins allowed 13 shots to Calgary in the second period and never truly regained control of the game.

HONORABLE MENTION: Chris Wagner was one of the best players on the ice for the Bruins and the fourth line was undoubtedly the best one for the B's Tuesday night. Wagner scored a third-period goal while on his belly as he shoveled a puck into the net on a mad scramble in front as the fourth line was grinding away. 

Wagner had a couple of other potential scoring chances in the game that he wasn’t able to capitalize on, but he finished with the one goal in 14:52 of ice time, two shots on net, three shot attempts, a hit, a takeaway and 4-for-8 from the face-off circle in an excellent effort.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the number of regulation losses at TD Garden for Tuukka Rask after finally losing one to Calgary while letting up four goals on 30 shots.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Some guys came to play, and some guys…didn’t. They didn’t break a sweat, some of them it looked like.” –Bruce Cassidy, clearly not loving the flat effort from the B’s.


 

WATCH: Bruins honor goaltender Jaroslav Halak for 500 career NHL games

WATCH: Bruins honor goaltender Jaroslav Halak for 500 career NHL games

The Boston Bruins honored Jaroslav Halak Tuesday night ahead of their matchup with the Calgary Flames at TD Garden.

Why? Because Halak is one of 74 goaltenders in NHL history to play 500 career games.

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The B's backup goaltender received plenty of praise from current and past teammates:

Halak, in his 14th NHL season, spent time with the Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and New York Islanders before joining the Bruins in 2018.  Game No. 500 came earlier this season and Halak has now totaled 518 in his career (482 starts). He is 270-167-58 with a 2.48 goals-against average,  .916 save percentage and 50 shutouts overall. 

The 34-year-old has been a solid backup for Tuukka Rask and has pushed him to play better when necessary. Halak is16-6-6 this season with a 2.42 GAA and .918 save percentage with three shutouts.

Halak's contract expires after this season, and although he's been stellar, he could possibly find a new home next season if Boston signs its free agents Torey Krug, Jake DeBrusk, Zdeno Chara, Matt Grzelcyk and others.

Bruins-Oilers Talking Points: David Pastrnak won't be denied in OT

Bruins-Oilers Talking Points: David Pastrnak won't be denied in OT

GOLD STAR: David Pastrnak has some nights when he plays well and there are other nights when he’s the single biggest reason the Bruins win a game. Wednesday night was more the latter than the former as Pastrnak set up Boston’s only goal in regulation and then scored the winner in overtime after breaking behind the Edmonton defense before scoring his 43rd goal.

Pastrnak finished with a team-high six shots on net and a whopping 13 shot attempts in 18:17 of ice time with a plus-2 rating. Pastrnak was whistled for a tripping call in the final couple of minutes of the third period and seemed to be on a mission from the time he got out of the box prior to getting that OT breakaway chance. There was little doubt he wasn’t going to come through.

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BLACK EYE: I don’t know who Patrick Russell is, but he played 3:31 in an OT loss for the Oilers when Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse pulled close to 30 minutes in the game for an injury-ravaged roster. So, perhaps it could have been a different outcome if Russell could have lightened the load for some of Edmonton’s top players.

The truth is, though, that the Oilers are going to struggle for as long as key guys Connor McDavid and James Neal are both out. And there wasn’t much from a negative perspective to write about for the Edmonton players in a competitive game they could have easily won against Boston.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins came out strong in the first minute of the second period, didn’t score but then battened down the hatches for the rest of the middle 20 minutes.

Edmonton outshot the Bruins 18-9 and peppered Tuukka Rask on a few power-play possessions in the period, but the Bruins didn’t buckle under the pressure. Instead, Rask stopped all 18 shots he faced in the second period and wasn’t beaten for a goal until the third when a high deflection made it past the Bruins goaltender.

Part of the reason the B’s eventually picked up the full two points was how well they kept the puck out of the net in the second.

HONORABLE MENTION: Rask has been excellent coming out of the All-Star break and he was that kind of good against the Oilers on Wednesday night. Rask stopped 28 of 29 shots, including making saves on those 18 shots in the second, including a couple of Oilers power plays.

Rask only allowed a deflected goal in the third that tied the score on a shot that he couldn’t have been expected to save. Otherwise, he was perfect and continues to team with Jaroslav Halak to be one of the unquestioned strengths of this team.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0-for-7 – the Bruins went 0-for-7 on the power play in one of the few things to be discouraged about from a B's perspective.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Just a little breakaway, and I saw him try to poke-check so I decided to go five-hole there. Lately, we’ve been good [in overtime] so hopefully, we’re getting some confidence back.” –David Pastrnak, on NESN talking about his overtime game-winner.