Tuukka Rask left the Boston Bruins’ game against the New York Rangers early Saturday with a case of dehydration. The Bruins went on to win the game 4-2, and the Boston Herald reported that Rask was said to be “fine” after the game and would play Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes. The win put the Bruins back ahead of the Ottawa Senators in the race for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, with Ottawa having lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With both Boston and Ottawa in action on Sunday, needless to say, it was a big game for the Bruins. The Hurricanes were closing out a five-game home stand and trying to extend their winning streak to three games. They beat the New Jersey Devils Saturday night 3-1.
Ryan Spooner gave Rask a little early breathing room, scoring at 2:21. “Spoons” got it by Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin on assists from David Pastrnak and Adam McQuaid.
— NHL (@NHL) March 29, 2015
The play was begun by a defensive breakdown by the ‘Canes and the Bruins took full advantage. Khudobin faced down the Boston rush but had no answer as his defensive teammates had no answer either.
Both teams seemed to be sluggish as the game progressed. Perhaps having played Saturday was wearing on them. Tuukka Rask, however, looked fully hydrated and was on his game in a big way in the early going.
The game progressed in nondescript fashion until 19:38 in the second when Nathan Gerbe finally pierced the wall that was Tuukka Rask and tied the game at one.
— NHL (@NHL) March 29, 2015
Chris Terry and Danny Biega assisted and the Bruins found themselves in a brand new game as opposed to going into the locker room sitting on a lead.
A power play opportunity came for the Hurricanes at 2:54 in the third as a result of penalty on Chris Kelly for tripping. The Bruins killed it off easily with Rask being tested only once during the man advantage.
A Bruins power play about ten minutes later was equally as non-productive. Khudobin had a tense moment about ninety seconds in, but weathered it nicely.
Finally some excitement
Possibly the most excitement of the game came at the end of the power play when Nathan Gerbe got loose on a breakaway and almost scored on Tuukka Rask. Suddenly he was in the crease surrounded by a bunch of Bruins, mixing it up with Brad Marchand. The old saying goes, “Dynamite comes in small packages,” and Nathan Gerbe is just that, dynamite in a small – by NHL standards – package.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 30, 2015
There is no one in the game that could back Nathan Gerbe down. It was a bit curious though that his team was slow to get to where he was, a lone ‘Cane in the midst of five or six Bruins. Maybe they figured he could handle himself.
Rask the wall
The game was finally exciting in the third period. Tuukka Rask was brilliant, making saves and keeping the Hurricanes from taking the lead.
On the other end, Anton Khudobin was equally as stout, keeping his former team at bay through the end of regulation.
David Pastrnak is still just eighteen years old. He was drafted in the first round by the Bruins in last year’s NHL Entry Draft. He is making his presence felt in a big way, including getting two points against the Hurricanes – one of which was for the game winner in overtime.
— NHL (@NHL) March 30, 2015
With ten goals and fifteen assists this season, Pastrnak is proving that he is the real deal for the Bruins.
- The Bruins got the two points, which puts them three ahead of Ottawa and four ahead of the Florida Panthers for the wild card. This is huge for Boston who started the weekend behind the Senators.
good weekend for the #bostonbruins less good for the senators
— sylvain (@sgirard10) March 30, 2015
Tuukka Rask is an excellent goalie. If Boston does make the playoffs as it appears they
might, he is a solid presence in between the pipes. He’s not having a Carey Price kind of season, but in the playoffs he could get hot and who knows.
- The Hurricanes continually leave Anton Khudobin hanging out to dry. He keeps them in the game time after time only to lose because of no offensive support. Nathan Gerbe summed it up after the game.
“You want to help Dobby out more, too, because he played a heck of a game for us,” Gerbe said.
If Khudobin is viewed as a mediocre goalie after this season it will be grossly unfair to him. His team simply has not had his back as he has had theirs.
- Carolina travels to Washington Tuesday night to face the Capitals, who are three points ahead of the Bruins in the wild card. Boston next plays the Panthers Tuesday night in a game with huge wild card implications.
It’s that time of year – the playoff slots are filling up and the plots are thick with drama. The Hurricanes got a point for their effort Sunday night. The Bruins got some breathing room in their playoff quest. If Tuukka Rask can keep the Propel flowing, who knows where the Bruins will land.
Mark lives in the Raleigh, NC area and covers the Carolina Hurricanes.