As the final horn rang throughout TD Garden on Tuesday night, a loud “Tuuk” chant resonated through the building.
Although the Boston Bruins had just dispatched the Minnesota Wild 4-0, it was the performance of Rask that seemed to have gotten the crowd’s attention above all else. The netminder had just earned his first shutout of the season, and the reception he got was much deserved.
Few athletes in Boston –and certainly on the Bruins — are as firmly planted under the microscope as Rask, fair or unfair. Any poor performance is picked apart piece by piece by his detractors, while those same folks often brush off his best showings as the product of good defense in front of him.
But in Tuesday’s win, Rask wasn’t riding anyone else’s coattails. He benefited from some pretty complete defense, sure, but he turned away 24 shots and it wasn’t by accident. The 31-year-old made multiple saves he had little business making, among them a stellar glove save on Eric Staal from near-point blank. A three-goal first period gave the Bruins a pretty comfortable cushion, but they mostly were outplayed in the back half of the game and Rask did his part in not allowing Minnesota to get back into it.
In addition to Tuesday’s win being Rask’s first shutout of the season, it was the 42nd of his career and his 250th career victory.