Rask up to task but B's don't back him
May, 11, 2013
By James Murphy | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- Before the postseason began, Tuukka Rask said he will never forget the last time he was a starting goalie in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
He acknowledged that he has been waiting for the chance to erase the memory of the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, when the Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead to Philadelphia.
But if the Bruins lay another egg as they did in Game 5, losing 2-1 to the Maple Leafs and failing to close out the series, will Rask be seeing Flyers orange once again?
That 2010 bad experience is most likely why a disappointed Rask said Friday night he wasn't surprised that a team with the Bruins' experience could come out so flat in a potential series-clinching game.
"Not really. Nothing surprises me anymore," Rask said. "We've been through a lot of ups and downs so, it happens sometimes. It's really tough to say what the reason is, but we just got caught off guard a bit."
Off guard was a bit of an understatement. After claiming they knew just how hard the Leafs would come out in the first period, the Bruins appeared to bring a "hit me with your best shot" approach to withstand the Leafs' initial push.
The problem was that while Rask stopped 19 first-period shots and the game was scoreless after the first, the Leafs weren't done. To complicate things more, the Bruins didn't get going until late in the second period. But as Rask pointed out, in the playoffs or in any game, that's not going to cut it.
"We played good the second half of the game and I think we just have to take that with us to Toronto and start the game there like we finished here," Rask said. "It's really not good enough when you play 30 minutes out of 60 minutes in the playoffs and I think that's what we have to learn from this and be ready for."
Rask wasn't the only one not holding back. Bruins head coach Claude Julien made it crystal clear how disappointed he was that his team wasted another great effort by their goaltender.
"First period, we were in the game because of him," a visibly frustrated Claude Julien said. "There's no doubt there, he made all the saves. At the end of it, we've got to play three periods like we did in the third, spend more time in their end than in ours. A couple times, ones that, breakaway on the power play, and then the other one's just a poor execution from the puck off the boards, let a guy come in with some speed and just walk in. We didn't give him much help on those, but he's been fine. I think we have to look at ourselves from the crease out tonight, and see how we could have been better."
Now the series shifts back to Air Canada Centre in Toronto for Game 6 on Sunday. The Leafs fans will be loud and ready. Their team has life again, and Rask is hoping he will be able to say the same about his team.
"Going home, they got a great crowd there and although they didn't win the first two they played pretty good and I'm sure they feel pretty good, but we just have to go out there and match their effort," he said.