Rask: Focus on performance, not pressure

May, 9, 2014
May 9
6:14
PM ET
BOSTON -- Any Bruins fans who were calling for goaltender Tuukka Rask to turn in a truly dominant performance had to be satisfied by his 33-save gem in Game 4 of the B's Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Montreal Canadiens.

Rask collected his second shutout of the postseason, after allowing three or more goals in each of the first three games of the series against Montreal.

[+] EnlargeBrian Gionta
Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty ImagesTuukka Rask shut out Montreal in Game 4 after giving up at least three goals in each of the first three games.
"I didn't think it was tighter, necessarily," Rask said after Friday's optional team skate at the TD Garden. "The goals have been scored on a lot of tips and stuff, and yesterday there wasn't too many tips either way."

Rask credited the defensive effort in front, which allowed him to see pucks clearly.

"It's always easier for a goalie when you can see the puck and there's no sticks around the net," Rask said. "That was a huge factor yesterday."

Entering Thursday's game, voices again began to conspire against Rask, asking whether pressure was getting to the goaltender, who holds a 3-10-3 career regular-season record against Montreal.

"I think a lot has been made of Tuukka, and I'm not on the same page as everyone else," Julien said Friday. "We gave up breakaways in that first game in Montreal; we were really sloppy."

Julien continued, "I thought he was really good last night. There is no issue with that. I said it [Thursday] morning: He has no confidence issues. He's hard on himself, but he never gets rattled that way."

Now, with the series shifting to Boston for Game 5, has the pressure shifted back to the Canadiens?

"I don't think anybody's got too much pressure," Rask said. "It's the playoffs and you just try to have fun out there, work hard and get the wins. We start 0-0 again, and it's a best-of-three series now. I don't think anybody has pressure, it's just who plays better at the end."

Scott Barboza

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
Scott Barboza joined ESPNBoston.com as a high schools editor/reporter in May 2010. He spent the previous three seasons working in the New England Patriots media relations department after a stint at the Taunton Daily Gazette, where he covered everything from Little League baseball to the Boston Red Sox.

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