Rask, B's focus on executing Game 2 plan
May, 2, 2014
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The foundation has been set.
The Boston Bruins know exactly what it will take to defeat the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Now it's only a matter of going out and doing it.
Game 1 of this series was epic. It lasted into the second overtime before P.K. Subban ended it with a power-play goal to secure a 4-3 win for Montreal. The Bruins had plenty of chances to score more than three goals, but the game turned into a session of missed opportunities for Boston.
The Bruins' top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla just couldn't finish any of multiple quality bids. The trio wasn't alone. Boston's other three lines weren't successful, either.
Montreal goalie Carey Price deserves a stick tap for his 48-save performance. He was outstanding between the pipes. The Bruins' offense is potent enough to break through, and it will.
"I thought we had so many chances, we could have scored like 10 goals [in Game 1]," Krejci said. "But we didn't and hopefully we're saving it for the next game."
Despite the loss, the Bruins were pleased that they were able to create quality opportunities. Montreal grabbed a 2-0 lead after two periods, but Boston responded and controlled the pace of the game. The Bruins need more of that in Game 2.
"Going into next game, I guess the main focus is you don't want to grip your stick too tight and bury those opportunities when you get them," Lucic said. "It sucks losing the way that we did, it was a tough loss to swallow, but you've got to have short-term memory and forget about it as quick as you can and focus on the next one because it's coming soon with a 12:30 game tomorrow. We're excited about it."
Despite what Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask says, he does not suck.
AP Photo/Charles KrupaTuukka Rask expects he'll play better than he did in Game 1's 4-3 double-OT loss.
He didn't have his best performance in Game 1, but his harsh self-criticism is not warranted.
"When you suck, you suck," he said after the game.
Rask finished with 29 saves, but his counterpart Price was even better in withstanding Boston's attack. Rask was one of the best goaltenders during the regular season and is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. He may have seemed preoccupied in the first half of Game 1, but he responded and his teammates are expecting the same in Game 2 Saturday.
"There's not much you need to say to him," Lucic said. "He's always trying to do whatever he can to be on top of his game. He's a professional when it comes to his preparation. Sometimes he is hard on himself, but that's athletes everywhere. They can be hard on themselves at times, but Tuukka is a world-class goaltender and I know he's going to do whatever he can to have a big, big performance tomorrow."
Since Rask took over the No. 1 job in Boston a season ago, he has bailed out his teammates time and again. After Thursday's game, not one Bruins player or coach Claude Julien was about to blame goaltending for the team's loss to the Canadiens. But his teammates weren't surprised by his self-deprecation.
"That's him. He always has high standards and expecting himself to be at his best all the time," said Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron. "He's been like that for us all year. I thought he was good for us and he always wants to be better. He wants to win games for us and I know he's going to bounce back tomorrow."
Added teammate Brad Marchand, "Tuuks is very hard on himself. He competes very hard and he expects to be his best every night. He played well last night and made a lot of really big saves. I think you've just got to let him do what he does and prepare for the next game."
At the other end of the ice, Price was solid. He made timely saves and was also on the fortunate end as a few quality-scoring chances went just wide or hit the post. The Bruins need more traffic in front of him, because he was able to see too many pucks cleanly in Game 1.
"We can definitely have a few more bodies in front," Marchand said. "It's a lot tougher to see the puck when there are guys battling in front there. He's a very good goalie, so pucks he sees, he's going to stop. We're going to be harder in front."