BOSTON — Home has not been kind to Bruins second-year goaltender Tuukka Rask or the team as a whole for that matter.
After tonight’s 3-1 loss to Montreal, Rask now has a 0-2-1 record at TD Garden and an 0-3-1 home record (including the Prague “home game”). He’s winless in all five of his starts thus far.
For a goaltender who won 22 games as a super rookie last winter and led his team to the second round of the playoffs, things should be going better — especially considering his better-than-respectable .923 save percentage and 2.75 goals-against average.
Here’s what Rask had to say after the game:
Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who summed up the defeat by saying his players “ran out of legs,” put some of the blame for Rask’s struggles on the way Boston hasn’t helped its young puck-stopper.
“It’s unfortunate, because so far, I don’t think we’ve played great in front of him,” said Julien. “That first game in Prague, I think was our worst game ever so far this year. Tonight we weren’t a very good team in front of him. I thought he played well [against] St. Louis [Saturday] and took us into a shootout. But I don’t know that I would go after him and say that he’s not playing well. I think we need to help him out a little bit. When goalies first find their groove, it’s because the team in front of him plays maybe better than we have.”
The Bruins, playing on the second night of a back-to-back situation featuring a third-period comeback from two goals down the night before, were outshot by Montreal, 41-35.
As a whole, the Bruins haven’t played well at the Garden. They’re just 2-3-1 in the friendly confines, which might be a sign that they’re trying too hard to put on a show instead of playing the type of hockey that has earned them a 5-1-0 record on the road.
“I think on the road there’s definitely more of an emphasis, because of the environment, to keep it simple and you know, let the home team come to you and let them kind of make mistakes and capitalize on their mistakes,” said forward Blake Wheeler. “I don’t think we should play any differently home or away, I think we’re guilty of that, but home’s where we’ve got to play to our best. We’ve got to make this building a tough place to come into.”
If the Bruins pick up their play at home, Rask will be the most thankful of all.