Tuukka Rask has had a very turbulent season so far with the Bruins. In his very first game of the year, he gave up 5 goals on 19 shots against the Capitals. It seemed like Jaroslav Halak is clearly the better goaltender and Rask was getting fewer and fewer opportunities.
Then a bizarre sequence followed, after Halak played his worst game of the season allowing 5 goals against the Canucks, Rask came in to play and gave up another three goals on 14 shots on goal, including one generous gift. Next day after that game, Rask mysteriously left the team on personal reasons. It took him few days to come back, but since his return, he has been much more better for the Bruins.
Personal break propelled Rask to respond better
So far Rask started in four games since his comeback and never lost in regulation period. Twice he prevailed and twice Boston lost in overtime. In his first game back in Dallas, Rask made 36 stops on 37 shots on goal, in his next start, in Detroit last Wednesday, he made 26 saves on 29 shots on goal in 3-2 overtime loss. In Montreal last weekend Rask was stellar, made 31 saves in a 3-2 win over Bruins´ archrivals.
On Thursday night, when the Bruins honored Rick Middleton with retiring his number, Rask stood on his head again, made 28 saves and another four stops in a shootout in process of 2-1 shootout win for his team against the New York Islanders. And it is not only about his numbers and results, even thought those ones are the most important.
Rask seemed to be well focused in the net, gave up goals when he really could not make any bigger effort to stop that shot and reacted very angrily after every goal allowed. That may not be the best sign if you are allowing a ton of goals, but if you give up a goal on the third rebound… It is good to be mad then.
Rask was clearly not happy with his play before, but he has been on the top of his game ever since. Tuukka Rask experienced the same situation last season, but he found his way back in late November and never really looked back. Sounds familiar, doesn´t it?
This time around, he might have a little bit better and more experienced netminder alongside him, Halak also posted some very good performances as of late. The Bruins have so many things to be concerned about… McAvoy still out, Kevan Miller went out for 5 weeks, Chara and Bergeron missing until after Christmas… But goaltending situation is not the area of concern.
It seems like Rask surely responded nicely on his early-season struggles and huge challenge created by Jaroslav Halak. Now it is his task to hold the Bruins as high as possible. It should not be his goal winning respect and love from the Bruins fanbase. Rask already has it.