Forget about the comparisons to Tim Thomas, which Tuukka Rask was surprisingly yet not surprisingly asked about after Sunday's Game 2 win over the New York Rangers at the TD Garden. This isn't about matching what Thomas did in the Bruins' Stanley Cup run two years ago. This is about overcoming what Rask couldn't do the year before that, when Boston blew a 3-0 series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Rask has won a first round playoff series before. Been there, done that. But a second round? Close, but "close" isn't good enough. That may or may not be one of the reasons why Rask enters Game 3 of this year's Eastern Conference Semifinals without a new contract for 2013-14. Deal or no new deal, Rask knows what he has to do. And it has absolutely nothing to do with Thomas. But it does have something to do with another goaltender. That being Rangers veteran Henrik Lundqvist, who made his first trip past the second round of the playoffs last year, when New York lost to the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Final. Lundqvist is looking to get past the second round once again, and has already posted two shutouts in nine playoff games this month. So if Rask is going to have to out-battle anyone, it's Lundqvist. And so far, so good, as Boston now has a 2-0 series lead after Sunday's 5-2 win in which Rask made 35 saves. "We've got a lot of confidence in Tuukka," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the win. "If you compare both, there's no doubt Henrik Lundqvist has more experience than Tuukka does. But it doesn't change anything. "He's been good for us all year, and our guys have lots of confidence in him," Julien later added. "It's about having confidence in your goaltender, and finding ways to get through the other one." Rask has allowed four goals on 72 shots and has a 1.76 goals-against average in this Eastern Conference Semifinals series, through two games. Meanwhile, Lundqvist has allowed eight goals on 80 shots and has a 3.53 goals-against average in the series through the first two games. "It's a good challenge, obviously," said Rask after Sunday's win. "I know that I can't let in any weak goals on most nights, because [Lundqvist] is who he is. Then again, it's a team game, and we're more focused on the Rangers than any individual." Rask made 33 saves in a Game 1 overtime win. He made 35 saves in Sunday's Game 2 win. He's allowed only two goals in each, which suits his 2.00 goals-against average in the regular season. Both goals he allowed on Sunday were quick answers to Bruins goals. The first came from Ryan Callahan, who took advantage of a Brad Marchand turnover at the Rangers blue line and beat Dougie Hamilton to a race to the loose puck in the neutral zone. Callahan came down the left wing and deked all the way to his right, slipping the puck past the extended left pad of Rask to tie the game at 1-1, eight minutes into the first period.
Rask proving he's the better goalie in series
NBC Sports Boston | May 20