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BHN Talking Points

Talking Points: Rusty Rask, Boston Bruins Fall Flat



Jake DeBrusk

BOSTON — Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 5-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks at TD Garden on Monday night to close out a largely successful homestand for the Black and Gold.

GOLD STAR: It was very nearly two goals for Ryan Getzlaf, who still would be a tremendous trade deadline addition for a playoff team, like the Boston Bruins looking for a rent-a-center, if Anaheim falls out of a playoff race, they are currently flirting with. The two-goal performance would have matched the number of goals he’d scored all season for the Ducks and showed that he’s still got a little something left in the tank at 36 years old. The first goal was a sizzling power play blast from the top of the circle that rocketed through Tuukka Rask, and it was eventually changed to Derek Grant redirecting the puck in front of the net. The second one was all Getzlaf, though, as he threw a quick dangle around David Pastrnak before throwing it top corner over Rask once again. Getzlaf finished with a goal and two points, three shot attempts and three hits in 20:02 of ice time in a throwback performance for the Anaheim captain.

BLACK EYE: Does the fact that a brief “We Want Swayman” chant erupted during the game tell the story? There were plenty of issues with the entire team not playing the kind of sound, smart and solid game that’s typified their winning streak, of course, but Tuukka Rask also gave up five goals on 27 shots including a couple of goals that he probably should have stopped. Rask now has allowed 12 goals on 62 shots in his last three games for an .806 save percentage while slowly attempting to knock the rust off his game. It’s clear that he wasn’t anywhere close to game ready when he signed, and it becomes a tough task for the Bruins to give him enough time to get up to speed while also worrying about wins and losses. It essentially looked like Rask was down in the butterfly for most of the game while Anaheim was shooting top corner rockets past him, but the worst goal allowed was a shorthanded rush where Isac Lundestrom simply pushed a puck through his leg pads to make it 2-0 at the start of the second period. On the bright side, at least the Bruins didn’t get burned by the “Michigan” play.

TURNING POINT: After a very poor first period where the Bruins trailed 1-0 and were outshot by an 11-5 margin, things began looking up in the second period when a Trevor Zegras slashing call put the Bruins on the power play. But instead of tying things up and really making a push, Nick Foligno fell down carrying the puck through the neutral zone and Isac Lundestrom picking it up and carried David Pastrnak on his back during a shorthanded rush. Tuukka Rask couldn’t make the stop on a five-hole goal and the Ducks were up 2-0 with the two-goal lead that would eventually be the difference on the scoreboard once the Bruins finally got their game in gear.

HONORABLE MENTION: Give it to Erik Haula, who managed to be one of the few Boston Bruins players in a positive plus/minus spot after the game was over. Haula scored a late third period goal off a sweet no-look pass from Mike Reilly out of the corner and did a decent job of playing the role that Boston is looking for out of him between Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak. Haula finished with the goal, two shot attempts, two hits and a takeaway in his 12:18 of ice time and acquitted himself well in just about every area except for the face-off circle. Hall and Pastrnak scored as well, but those two wingers had some defensive issues during the game where they were perhaps leaning a little too much offensively against a Ducks team that was ready to give Boston a game.



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BY THE NUMBERS: 6 – the number of blocked shots for Kevin Shattenkirk, who also had four hits in a very gritty game for a Ducks defenseman known more for his offense in 25:44 of ice time.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Right now, he’s not where he needs to be. That was evident. He needs to sort through it.” –Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy on Tuukka Rask, who he said the Bruins may need seven or eight starts from before they can really evaluate his performance.



Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston,, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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Chuck Rose

It was a horrible start for Rask. It’s hard to attribute it to rust though, because he played very well against Winnipeg (Heck he played well in the 1st period tonight!). It’s just inconsistency. Historically, Tuukka would start a new season on just one preseason start and then have good starts once the season got going. This year he just hasn’t gotten off to that strong of a start this season. He has looked like a sieve out there at times. Until he is more consistent, the coaching staff has to stop giving him consecutive games. At this point he’s… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Chuck Rose

If debrusk had as bad a game as Tukka he’d be in the press box for a week. Time to place him on taxi squad and let him work on his game in practice not games that could cost the Bruins a playoff spot and Cassidy his job. Swayman and Ullmark are better options.


If ANY Bruin was solely responsible for two blowout losses, he might suffer more than “time in the press box’. Why was Rask pressed into action without any playing time in the AHL? What exactly was the big hurry? He apparently can’t be sent down to Providence. Not any more. One way contract. Swayman stays where he is. And so…we’re stuck with a goalie who will singlehandedly undo all the progress the Bruins have made since the start of the year. Honestly, if they give Rask another 7-8 starts to get his act together, the Bruins might find themselves out… Read more »

William Mahoney

Rask has seen his best days and should be replaced by Swayman as he future for the Bruins.


Not sure how you give Haula an “honorable mention”. He was a nightmare in the faceoff circle. And his game, between Pasta and Hall, must have had some flaws for Cassidy to put Nosek in as 2nd line center, and for Haula to be demoted to the 4th line, for a large stretch in the 2nd half of the game. Still have no idea why they can’t call Studnicka back up to center that line. If Haula’s effectiveness is seen to be fading, let’s determine if Studs can spark some chemistry with a Maurice Richard Trophy winner and a Hart… Read more »

Chuck Rose

Two things: Studnicka has had a couple of chances to stick with the big club this year. He hasn’t been good enough to do that. Frankly we’ve been giving him chances for years now. Secondly, while I agree that Rask has to get better BEFORE they start giving him multiple starts in a row, they have no choice on leaving him on the team because he has a no movement clause in his contract. That means they can’t trade him and they can’t send him down to Providence or even the taxi squad. The only option they have going forward… Read more »


So according to Cassidy, a 15 year veteran with a GAA of 4.28 and a Save Percentage of .844 needs 7 or 8 games in order to be evaluated but rookie Jeremy Swayman was sent down with a GAA of 1.96 and a Save Percentage of .928. Sweeney should have never re-signed Rask and shouldn’t have signed Ullmark for 4 years at $5 million per year. Since Sweeney and Neely took over, the free agent signings, trades and drafts have been a disaster. They need to be replaced along with the entire scouting department.

Chuck Rose

Oh for goodness sake. Neely didn’t start when Sweeny became GM. Neely was the President since before the Bruins won the cup in 2011. Sweeny is the one who messed this up. Not only did they sign Rask (which I agree with) but they gave him a no movement clause (which I don’t agree with). So now sending Rask down to get his game back in Providence isn’t an option (same with the taxi squad), and the Bruins can’t afford to keep all three tenders on the big club for cap reasons. As far as Ullmark, the guy had won… Read more »

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