NHL Sound Bites: Canadiens’ Blowout Loss & Bruins’ Rask Struggles

The “NHL Sound Bites” column is your go-to for daily hockey stories with quotes from your favourite players and staff.

In this edition of NHL Sound Bites, the Montreal Canadiens suffer a blowout loss, 8-2, at the Minnesota Wild and the Boston Bruins’ returning star goaltender is struggling to find his game again.

Canadiens Humbled After Allowing Eight Goals Versus Wild

The Canadiens took another brutal loss on Monday, losing by a six-goal deficit to the Wild. After Montreal forward Mike Hoffman scored the game’s opening goal, it all went downhill from there. Minnesota proceeded to tally five consecutive goals before the Canadiens answered with another one, off the stick of Rem Pitlick. But the beating didn’t end there, as Montreal went on to allow another three Wild goals, eventually dropping the contest, 8-2.

Josh Anderson Montreal Canadiens
Josh Anderson, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

“Throw that one right out the window,” said Canadiens forward Josh Anderson. “Obviously, every single guy in that locker room knows we need (to be) better. I know it’s been a long road trip and whatnot, and for the last three games, I thought, you know, that our game was there. We were finding ways to get a point and coming together. I know that we’ve been giving up a lot of scoring chances, but tonight there’s no exception. You got to find a way even when you’re tired and things like that, and we just left both our goalies out to dry.”

Montreal has now lost nine of its last 10 games (1-5-4) since returning from the holiday break. The Canadiens carry an NHL-worst record of 8-26-7, compared to the Wild’s 25-10-3 record, tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for 10th-best in the league. Getting blown out in Minnesota is a wake up call for Montreal that the team needs to make some major improvements.

“We need to really be having everyone at the top of their game to give ourselves a chance, and tonight we didn’t have that,” said Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme. “They were much better than us.”

Rask’s Struggles in Net Continue With 5-3 Loss to Ducks

Long-time Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Bruins on Jan. 11, 2022, after recovering from a surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip last July. In four starts since his return, he has allowed five goals in two games, first against the Carolina Hurricanes (7-1 loss on Jan. 18), and then versus the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, Jan. 24. The Ducks put five pucks past Rask on 27 shots, ultimately winning the game, 5-3.

Tuukka Rask Boston Bruins
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“You’re a proud player,” said Rask. “You’re trying to set your expectations high, but the reality sometimes doesn’t match it. Obviously, I haven’t been good enough… Not satisfied, obviously.”

Rask carries a .844 save percentage (SV%) and 4.28 goals-against average (GAA) across his four starts this season. The former Stanley Cup champion (2011), Vezina Trophy winner (2014) and William M. Jennings Trophy recipient (2020) is not playing to his typical standards.

“He’ll need more starts, and then we have to evaluate it, right?” said Cassidy. “Right now, (he’s) not where he needs to be… He’s got to sort through it, get through the kinks in his games, track pucks a little better, find pucks, puck touches, all the things that you have to get back into your game where he feels good about it.”

Related: NHL Sound Bites: Canucks’ Emergency Backup & Flyers’ Yandle Milestone

The 34-year-old goaltender has played 564 career NHL games, all in a Bruins uniform. Since becoming a Boston mainstay in 2009-10, he has never recorded less than a .912 SV% season. He will need to put in the time and effort to get back to where he’s been in the past and give the Bruins a good shot at locking in a playoff spot.

“It’s not easy,” said Rask. “But I’ve just got to work on it game in, game out, finding that consistency and try to help the team get some wins.”

Thank you for reading this edition of NHL Sound Bites, and make sure to listen to THW Podcast every weekday (Monday to Friday) to hear everything your favourite hockey writers have to say about the hottest topics around the league.

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