BOSTON — Relegated to second-banana status behind Tim Thomas since he lost the Bruins’ season-opener Oct. 9, Tuukka Rask made the start tonight and was the victim of the types of bounces that would make some goaltenders wish they stayed home.
The New York Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period with goals just 27 seconds apart en route to a 3-2 win at TD Garden.
The first goal was batted out of the air with a backhand swing by Rangers forward Artem Anisimov, whose stick was close to being too high in the air. The second goal looked like a pinball, as defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart (with his glove) both got a piece of it and Rask flailed at it to no avail.
“You haven’t played in two weeks and then that happens,” Rask said after the game, “you’re like holy shit, but you can’t start thinking about it. You’ve got to keep the game tight and try to save the next one, but obviously, tough breaks.”
With Thomas off to a hot start with four straight wins since the second game of the season, Rask has been left to watch and practice without knowing when he might get a chance to play again. Since his arrival in North America three years ago, he has mostly been “The Man” in the net for Providence and Boston, so this situation is a bit new to the former first-round pick.
He admitted to some rust early in the game.
“In the third, I actually got some shots and kind of got into the flow a little bit,” said Rask, who finished with 27 saves. “You know, the first two [goals], [it’s] just different because you’re kind of questioning where you’re standing and where your angles are. That’s obvious when you haven’t played, but as the game went on I felt better, yes.”
Just based on the Bruins’ schedule, and not on his performance compared to Thomas’ play, Rask might not play again for as long as two weeks. The Bruins’ next game isn’t until Thursday, and that starts a stretch of just three games in seven days. So Rask might want to hone his ability to shake off the rust earlier in a contest.
“Nothing really you can do, nothing you can do, just work hard and do the same things,” explained Rask. “No matter how much you think it’s a game-like situation in practice, it’s not the same when the game starts, it’s always different and we’ll see.”