This night had disaster written all over it for the Bruins. Despite vows to be better at the first puck drop, the B’s were even worse in the opening stages of their tilt against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden than they had been in the previous two games. When they weren’t icing the puck, the Bruins were making bad decisions with it. The visitors were being dominated by the hosts in every fashion — except at hockey’s most important position. Goalie Tuukka Rask kept the B’s in the game in the early going, stopping 19-of-20 shots in the first period — long enough for his teammates to steady themselves and earn a 6-3 victory for their first win since the Olympic break. Rask made 39 saves, many of which were quality scoring chances for the Rangers. “What can you say about him, he’s been our best player all year,” said Milan Lucic, who had a goal and an assist. “He even showed on the Olympic stage (for Finland) that he’s the best goalie in the world. We’re lucky to have him, especially in a time like this. You need a goalie to step up and make some big saves, and he definitely did tonight.” Rask had his international showdown with Swede Henrik Lundqvist in the Olympic semifinal scrapped because of a bug he’d picked up in Sochi, but Rask was the better man last night in the head-to-head matchup, as he was last year in the playoffs. And thanks to his teammates, Rask was able to show just how good he is in the first period. He was beaten on a J.T. Miller breakaway, but it easily could have been 5-0 in the opening 20 minutes. “Yeah, we were stuck in the quicksand there,” said Rask. “We didn’t do anything, gave them all kinds of chances. We got that goal that gave us some life and we were good in the last eight minutes of the first period. But still after that, it was up and down for us.” The B’s have had a hard time recapturing their layered, stingy team defense since the Olympic break, but they also seem to be having some trouble getting up for these games. That was definitely the case in the early going until Jarome Iginla showed a little life when he pushed and shoved with Marc Staal after the whistle. There were no penalties called and none were warranted for it wasn’t a major beef, but it was the first semblance of a heartbeat the B’s had shown. And not long after that, the B’s were on the board, thanks to some good physical play. Dougie Hamilton (goal, two assists) dumped the puck in the corner and Lucic took out two Rangers, allowing the puck to get to David Krejci along the wall. The center sent the puck toward the net and Iginla was there to redirect it home to allow the B’s to stunningly seize the momentum heading into the first intermission.
Rask, Big Third Period KO Rangers
Boston Herald | Mar 3