Rask gave his team a shot
The Red Wings are tough enough to play five on five, so the last thing an opposing goaltender wants to deal with is a shootout. But that is what yesterday’s game came down to at TD Garden, and the Bruins wound up on the short end of the 3-2 score.
When asked about staring down a sniper as dangerous as Pavel Datsyuk, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
“You saw what happened there, right?’’ said Rask, who yielded to Datsyuk’s forehand shot to the stick side on Detroit’s first attempt in the shootout. “That first guy coming in, he’s a pretty good guy, a pretty good team.’’
Rask stopped Jiri Hudler’s backhand bid to the glove side, and after Bruins right wing Nathan Horton scored to tie it, 1-1, Todd Bertuzzi decided it when he started wide right, cut in, and shoveled a quick shot over Rask.
When asked if he got a piece of it, Rask said he wasn’t sure.
“Doesn’t matter, right?’’ he said. “You practice it so much that it doesn’t matter what they do, it’s just a matter of staying patient and trying to be big [in the net], and today they beat me and that’s it.’’
Rask, who finished with 29 saves, saw his personal winning streak end at three games as the team’s streak was halted at 10.
“The first three guys [in the shootout] are pretty good guys and then they’ve got some talented guys behind that, too,’’ Rask said. “So do we. It’s awesome when you win and it [stinks] when you lose.’’
Despite the loss, the Bruins still earned a point and both teams played intense hockey, which helped stem the tide of disappointment a bit.
“Both teams played pretty good,’’ said Rask. “I thought we played a pretty solid, -minute game today. We had some really good chances and didn’t make too many mistakes, but when we did, they made them count.’’
One tactic the Red Wings employ is to crowd the opposing crease. Not only does it make it harder for the netminder to see pucks coming in, it also serves as a distraction. Rask said he wasn’t affected much by it, even when he was being bumped by forward Tomas Holmstrom.
“I didn’t find it annoying,’’ said Rask. “I thought they stayed outside the crease pretty well. They’re pretty honest about that. [Holmstrom] likes to crash the net but I don’t think he tries to hurt you. That’s his style of play and he’s pretty good at it, too.’’
The Bruins battled back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1, after Valtteri Filppula scored at 12:43 of the first and Datsyuk potted his sixth of the season at 4:40 of the second. Patrice Bergeron tied it at 2-2, setting the stage for overtime and the shootout. Rask said he didn’t feel the Red Wings had a ton of Grade A scoring chances.
“No shot is an easy shot, right?’’ said Rask. “But they definitely didn’t have that great of opportunities, and when they did, they had a couple and they scored. We just try to play solid hockey games every night, and today I thought we did. We got a point out of it. Too bad we lost. but we’ve still got to build on this game.’’
Rask, whose record is now 3-3-1, feels he’s finding a groove, even though he hasn’t played in many games.
“It’s not great, but I’ve felt like I’ve played pretty solid hockey,’’ he said. “[During the streak] we’ve played some good hockey and I think we got away with some bad games, too. But the only thing that matters are the wins and we were able to find ways to win. And today, we played a pretty solid hockey game. We still lost, so it’s a bounce there, a bounce here.’’