By Andrew Taverna | Follow me on Twitter: @andrewtaverna
You might have woken up this morning, still feeling the excitement of last night’s 3-2 victory over the Philidelphia flyers and having the incredible feel of a Pastrnak hat-trick. Still, I promise you, the best feeling was seeing Tuukka Rask back between the pipes. Not only did Rask return to his proper spot on the Boston Bruins ice, but it looked like he had not missed a beat. Rask would face a total of 27 shots and turn away 25 of those. From the moment Rask signed, he’s been taking Boston’s heart by storm, and last night, he put a bow on it.
Listen, you’re going to tell me at the start of this article I am writing about Rask like a child waking up on Christmas morning to a tree full of presents. The truth is, you wouldn’t be that far off. A couple of hours before game time, I was in full fan mode, as seen in this tweet.
Yes, I enjoy mixing my excitement with some funnier Rask moments, but it’s genuinely out of love. There wasn’t a particular moment last night that I thought Rask had to stand on his head, but the team was sluggish, to say the least, at certain times in the game. Without a solid netminder, that game could have gone sideways on several occasions. In particular, when you’re up by a goal late in the third and your team, including Brandon Carlo, decide to take penalties, and you have to kill off a five-on-three penalty situation. It’s easy to get tied up in the details of that, but the truth is, your goaltender has to be the best penalty killer on the ice in any situation.
The most impressive aspect of Rask’s game last night was the calm demeanor. For a guy who has a torn labrum repaired to rehabbing in a less than ideal situation, Rask looked like he hadn’t missed a game. If you had asked me pre-game, what I thought Rask would have looked like, I would have told you he needed at least a game or two to get into a rhythm. That said, Rask looked like a man on a mission last night from the moment he led the team onto the ice. There wasn’t ever a moment of shakiness, at least, not that he let anyone see.
Rask Post Game
My favorite part of the night, though, might simply be Tuukka Rask being Tuukka Rask during his media availability. Rask was honest and transparent about the game-day routine and being a little caught off by it. He did mention that backing up Linus Ullmark yesterday helped him a bit with the day, but that “it was very much out of the normal.” In addition to the lack of normality for Rask was the feeling of the fan base. “It was great to see the fan support, the best fans,” Rask said after the game. It’s nice to know that while a vocal minority of the fan base complains about Rask, he still knows that the real fans out there love him. You can see the full interview and Rask’s post-game presser here:
Whether you’re the biggest Tuukka Rask fan in the world or one of the upset people about Swayman heading to Providence, you have to admit the second have of this season has a different feel. Back-to-back games with hat-tricks, a next-man-up mentality with covid, and the 7-1 record since the return from break, this recent streak should make you a delighted Bruins fan right now.