BOSTON – If reporting to training camp didn’t already do it, Tuukka Rask’s exhibition game tonight in Montreal should officially turn the page on his career from rookie to sophomore.
The Finnish phenom expects to play the full game in Boston’s preseason opener at Bell Centre. And he knows how he has to approach the game in order to get the benefits of the ice time.
“You just try to feel good in general, I guess,” Rask said after the team’s morning skate at TD Garden and before a flight up to Montreal. “Try to play your angles right and control your rebounds. Those are the biggest things in the first games you play. You’re not nervous, but you don’t have that same feel as you get in the middle of the season from the puck and try to control your rebounds and play your angles right.”
Although it’s just preseason, the Montreal fans promise to be in full voice – both because they love their Habs and they hate the Bruins regardless of the time of year. Rask is going to soak up the atmosphere but try to keep an even keel as well.
“Obviously, you try to have the same mindset in every game you play. But obviously you’ve still got to recognize that there are no points on the line,” said last year’s NHL leader in goals-against average and save percentage. “But obviously you just try to go out there and do your best and work your hardest, no matter what kind of game it is.”
Rask will be protected by a young defense, where the only grizzled veteran will be Dennis Seidenberg. Third-year blueliner Matt Hunwick, second-year guys Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid and rookies Andrew Bodnarchuk and Matt Bartkowski (just out of college) are scheduled to be in the lineup. While he won’t be in midseason form, Rask said he has built up some momentum since camp opened Saturday and is definitely ready for game action.
“I feel pretty good. That scrimmage we had [Monday], I think that really helped me,” he said. “I almost felt better after that, getting into game action. Obviously, it wasn’t a real game, but I felt good after that and hopefully I’ll carry on from there.”