Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask’s near perfect season continued on Sunday night with a 21-save shutout against the Avalanche.

Tuukka Rask was named the NHL's First Star of the Week. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Tuukka Rask was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask’s near perfect season continued on Sunday night with a 21-save shutout against the Avalanche.

It was the perfect cap to a stellar week of hockey for the 29-year-old netminder. And it came with a deserving-albeit-minor Monday morning accolade for the B’s ace to hang his signature mask on, as the National Hockey League has announced that Rask who has been named their First Star of the week ending Nov. 13.

In a week of hockey in which the Bruins jumped up to second place in the Atlantic Division, Rask went a staggering 4-0-0 with an 0.75 goals against average and .970 save percentage.

Rask started his week with a strong 32-save shutout over the Sabres at TD Garden on Monday, needed to stop just 15-of-17 for a win over the Blue Jackets on Thursday (Rask actually stopped 15-of-16, too, but Colin Miller’s own-goal counted against No. 40), and then came through a monstrous back-to-back performance against the Coyotes and Avs in which Rask stopped all but one of the 52 shots thrown his way — a power-play goal by Radim Vrbata — between the two clubs.

Rask is now 10-1-0 on the year overall, and his 10 wins are tied with the Canadiens’ Carey Price for the most in the league. Only Price (.957) and Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk (.947) have posted a better save percentage than Rask’s .945 this season, too. And only Price, at 1.40, has a better goals against average than the 1.54 Rask has posted through the first month of the season.

Rask and the Bruins are off until a Nov. 17 road head-to-head with the Minnesota Wild.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Apparently, the Bruins will rest when they’re dead.

And they’re far from dead.

David Krejci scored the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

David Krejci scored the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

Apparently, the Bruins will rest when they’re dead.

And they’re far from dead.

In the final game of a brutal five-game-in-seven-day stretch, the Black and Gold put forth perhaps their most dominating effort to date, with a season-high 45 shots on Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov, while Tuukka Rask recorded his third shutout of the year (the 33rd of his career) behind a 21-stop night in a 2-0 win at the Pepsi Center.

B’s center David Krejci opened up the game’s scoring with his second goal of the season, scored 9:30 into the first period.

It would hold as the lone goal of the opening frame, and the only goal through two periods of play for that matter, as the Bruins unloaded on the Avalanche with a 23-shot second period that would have been real ugly for Colorado had it not been for the calm and relaxed presence of Varlamov in the Avalanche net.

Similar to last night’s nailbiter against the Coyotes, the Bruins were forced to cling to life to their one-goal edge, especially when Brandon Carlo, one of the club’s go-to killers, was sentenced to the box midway through the third period, but like they did all night, the Bruins continued to frustrate an Avalanche squad that never put more than seven shots on net in any period.

The Bruins finally gained breathing room with 27.2 seconds left in the game courtesy of Dominic Moore’s fourth goal of the season, an empty-net goal, to give the Bruins the 2-0 final they left the ice with.

With the victory, the Bruins finished this marathon week with 8-of-10 points, and were just 63 seconds in Montreal away from making it a 9-of-10 week at the very least. Also: the Habs are off to a straight-up ridiculous start, so perhaps it would have been best to chalk that one up at a schedule loss, anyways. In a week that could have gone so, so bad and come with a billion excuses — some of which would have been valid with multiple back-to-backs — the Bruins found a way to not only win, but not stoop down to the level of their opponents. That’s more than we could say about these B’s clubs over the last two years, by the way.

Here are four other things we learned in the win.

Dominant second period proves pivotal

When we look back on this game, I think it’s easy to say that the Bruins let the Avalanche off the hook in the first period. The Avalanche challenged the B’s at their own blue line on numerous occasions or made a bad pass, or backed off the wrong player to back off of in the opening 20, and the Bruins never really made them pay. And when that happens, you can almost guarantee that it’ll come back to haunt you. But the Bruins handled that with a second period response that included 23 shots thrown on the Avalanche net, and though it did not come with a goal, that ability to straight-up stifle what the Avalanche were able to do the other way certainly helped the Bruins establish their 60-minute long edge over the Avs.

Rask finally on board vs. Avalanche

In his sixth career head-to-head with the Avalanche, B’s netminder Tuukka Rask has finally found his first career win against Colorado. The 29-year-old did it with style, too. Behind a 21-save shutout, Rask has now won games against everybody in the NHL — including the dearly departed Atlanta Thrashers (rest in peace, Hurricane Bird Logo) — and improved to a ridiculous 10-1-0 on the season.  The win also bumped Rask’s season save percentage up from a .941 to a .945. Yeah, I’d say he’s doing alright.

Kuraly, Morrow draw back into lineup 

Recalled on Friday, first-year pro Sean Kuraly found the ice for the second NHL game of his career.

In a fourth-line role with Dominic Moore and Jimmy Hayes, the 23-year-old Kuraly put forth a stronger night than they did in his NHL debut (which is honestly to be expected, you’d think), and contributed with some positive energy and pace the other way. That said, I still think there’s significant chemistry with Schaller and Moore, and I’d hesitate to break it up for another game.

And for the first time in 10 games, Joe Morrow found himself back in the Black and Gold lineup. ‘Bout time, too.

With Morrow, it was too easy to look at his struggles in his last game played (Oct. 22 against the Canadiens) — a minus-2 rating and two penalties against (and if you remember, Morrow should have had three penalties but the refs wrongly fingered David Krejci for the high stick) — and write him off. But it also ignores what Morrow does well, which is push pace the other way with strong offensive instincts (something he most definitely did well in his two games, even without a point to his name).

Consistency, however, has been the name of Morrow’s game in terms of what he needs to do to earn an every night spot in the B’s lineup. Of course, that’ll be hard to develop if Morrow is sentenced back to the press box for another 10 games.

Let’s never do this again, OK? 

Alright. I’m going to level with you here: I’m a Patriots fan, as I’m sure most of you are, too. Having to watch this snoozer of a finish instead of the Patriots vs. Seahawks — one of the few ‘must watch’ games of the NFL season — was borderline torturous. And what kind of loony league tries to go against the NFL on Sunday night? Let’s get real and have this game played at like, 5 p.m. at the absolute latest next time. Thank you. Sincerely, the guy that the NHL nor NFL probably know exists.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

On the second leg of a back-to-back that began with Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Coyotes, the Bruins will take to the Pepsi Center ice against the Avalanche with a couple of minor tweaks to their lineup.

On defense, Joe Morrow will draw into his first game since Oct. 22.

Joe Morrow

Joe Morrow

On the second leg of a back-to-back that began with Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Coyotes, the Bruins will take to the Pepsi Center ice against the Avalanche with a couple of minor tweaks to their lineup.

On defense, Joe Morrow will draw into his first game since Oct. 22.

The 23-year-old Morrow has yet to record a point this year, and finished with a minus-2 rating and four minutes in penalties in his last game. Morrow, a former first-round draft choice by the Penguins in 2011 (23rd overall), has skated in 50 NHL games to date, and has tallied two goals and eight points, including a career-best seven points in 33 games last season.

With Morrow in, Colin Miller will take a seat as a healthy scratch. A fixture on the Bruins’ third pairing with John-Michael Liles, Miller has one goal and two points in 15 games this season.

Up front, Sean Kuraly will draw into action for the second game of his NHL career.

The 23-year-old Kuraly finished the his NHL debut — made in a shootout win over the Lightning on Nov. 3 — with a minus-1 rating, one shot attempt, and an 0-for-2 mark on faceoffs.

Kuraly will take Tim Schaller’s spot on the B’s fourth line.

For the second night in a row, Tuukka Rask gets the call in the net.

The 29-year-old stopped 31-of-32 on Saturday, and is a ridiculous 6-0-0 with a .952 save percentage in six road games this year. Rask has also allowed one goal or fewer in six of his last nine starts, but has zero wins and a .928 save percentage in five career games against the Avalanche. The Avs are the only team that Rask has yet to beat in his NHL career.

The Avalanche counter with Semyon Varlamov.

Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Ryan Spooner – David Krejci – David Backes

Matt Beleskey – Riley Nash – Austin Czarnik

Sean Kuraly – Dominic Moore – Jimmy Hayes

Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

Joe Morrow – John-Michael Liles

Rask

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Another night away from TD Garden, another win for Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.

B's captain Zdeno Chara scored the first goal of the night in a 2-0 win over Arizona on Saturday. (Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports)

The Bruins scored two goals in 1:50 in a 2-1 win over the Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Saturday night. (Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports)

Another night away from TD Garden, another win for Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.

In the club’s ninth road game overall, and Rask’s sixth start away from home, the 29-year-old Rask came through with another strong night and stayed perfect on the road, this time behind a 31-of-32 night in the B’s crease in a 2-1 win over the Coyotes on Saturday night.

Peppered early and often by a quick-skating Coyotes attack, Rask stood tall with 17 stops through the first two periods of play.

The Bruins supported Rask with two goals in a 1:50 span in the second period, the first from Zdeno Chara (though later credited to Ryan Spooner) and the second from David Pastrnak.

Both goals came on one-timers from just about right between the circles and with traffic in front of Coyotes goaltender Louis Domingue (who appeared legitimately surprised with each red light lit).

But it was in the third period where Rask continued to be the Bruins’ final — and best — line of defense.

The Coyotes finally answered the B’s tallies in the third period, though, with a power-play goal from Radim Vrbata with Jordan Martinook parked in front of No. 40 in black and gold.

But as the Coyotes pressed for the game-tying tally, Rask stood tall on two last-second chances from the Coyotes’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson with the Arizona net empty, and found some help from the defensive unit in front of him, too, as Adam McQuaid finished with a team-high four blocked shots.

With another strong night in the B’s net, Rask bumped his road save percentage on the year up to a ridiculous .951 (up from a .948), and has allowed one goal or fewer in six of his last nine starts.

Here are four other things we learned in the win.

B’s dominate dot

What a night at the faceoff dot for the Black and Gold. It was led, as always, by the dominant display of Bergeron, who won 19-of-24 battles at the dot, including a fantastic 8-of-11 in the defensive zone. Behind Bergeron, third-line center Riley Nash came through with seven wins on 12 draws, while David Krejci went 9-of-16, including 4-of-5 in the offensive zone.

Quick strikes once again lead way

Just like they did in Thursday’s win over the Blue Jackets, the Bruins really took control of this game with goals in rapid succession. With two goals in 24 seconds to finish off a four goals in 4:01 stretch on Thursday, the Bruins came at Louis Domingue with two goals in 1:50. When you can score like that with consistency, you’re going to make life hell on your opponents no matter if it’s at home or on the road. Doing it on the road, however, is a definite bonus as it takes the home crowd out of it. (Though you could make the case that they were never really in it tonight.)

Bruins survive injury scares to both Chara, McQuaid

I thought for sure B’s defenseman Adam McQuaid tore his knee — or something of equal severity — early in the second period of tonight’s game. And then I thought for sure that Zdeno Chara broke his knee with a slapshot that banged right off it on a third period penalty kill. Luckily, neither left the game for more than a shift or two, and both finished the night with regular shifts.

Both Chara and McQuaid, though on different pairings, of course, were instrumental in a night that saw the Bruins really vanquish the Coyotes’ second line of Max Domi-Christian Dvorak-Anthony Duclair off the board.

The Bruins have survived without McQuaid this season (and long before that, too), but this is a Bruins team that could not deal with any sort of injury to their 6-foot-9 captain, who logged another monster night, with 24:11 of time on ice.

Continued excellence from the MBP Line

We’re honestly going to run out of things to say about this line by the time this season’s over. Hell, it may even happen before Thanksgiving at this rate. The Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak combo, which entered play with 16 of the 32 goals scored by B’s forwards this year, has been straight-up incredible for the Black and Gold this season. Saturday against the ‘Yotes was no exception. After the group was held off the scoreboard in Thursday’s game, Pastrnak’s second period goal, the second of the night, put the group back on track with tangible results. And even though Pastrnak was the only goal-scorer of the three, the group was dynamite in the offensive zone, and dominated the pace of play with each shift in the Arizona zone.

With his goal, Pastrnak became first Bruin since Cam Neely in 1994-95 to begin his year with 10 goals in 13 games.

The Bruins have a quick turnaround with a Sunday night head-to-head with the Avalanche.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Not even a month into their season, the Bruins have been on the road more than Willie Nelson.

The Bruins begin a three-game road trip tonight in Arizona. (Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins begin a three-game road trip tonight in Arizona. (Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports)

Not even a month into their season, the Bruins have been on the road more than Willie Nelson.

The Bruins opened their season with a three-game road trip. Then they came home for three games at TD Garden, and embarked another stretch away from home with a four-game road trip. Then it was back to Boston for two games, in Montreal for a road game, back home for one, and now, beginning with tonight’s road contest with the Arizona Coyotes, the Bruins embark on another three-game road swing.

“That’s the theme of our team this year, on the road again,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said when asked of yet another prolonged trip away from the Garden. “Since the beginning of the year we have had those week-long road trips which so far has been good.  As I mentioned earlier in the year, when you get those road trips you get a chance to bond better and get to know each other. There are some new faces and it can only get better but we look forward to being at home for awhile at some point, those home cooked meals and also having your fans behind you. 

“We’ll take this three-game road trip, make the most out of it and come back here hopefully with smiles on our faces.”

The smiles have come on the road for the Black and Gold, too, with five wins in eight games in their road whites. And with goals from members of the second, third, and fourth line — and the first of the year for B’s defenseman Torey Krug — in Thursday’s win over the Blue Jackets, the Bruins will look to carry their offensive momentum into Glendale with a more simplified approach.

“I don’t think it’s a secret. When we’re on the road, we’re willing to play that simple, hard ugly game,” B’s forward David Backes said of the club’s road success out of the gate. “At home we’ve had tendencies to get too cute and turn pucks over in the neutral zone or just inside their blue line and that’s a recipe to feed the other team’s offense and we’ve dug ourselves some big holes and haven’t been able to dig out of them when we’ve been at home. I think lately, we’ve trusted that game that we’ve built and had success on the road. I think the game in Montreal we had 43 shots on the second night of a back-to-back with travel against a really good team and I think that really instilled a belief in us that if we play that game, we’re going to tilt the scales in our favor.”

It’s no secret that the play of goaltender Tuukka Rask has made the Bruins a great road team this year, as the 29-year-old enters play with five wins and just eight goals allowed (a .948 save percentage) in five road games this season. Rask, of course, has been dominant against the Coyotes in his career, too, with seven wins and a .936 save percentage in eight games.

But without a morning skate, it’s unclear whether or not the Bruins will go with Rask or Zane McIntyre, who stopped 20-of-23 shots against in a Tuesday night loss in Montreal. The Bruins also welcomed Anton Khudobin — out with an upper-body injury sustained in an Oct. 24 practice at Warrior Ice Arena — back for this trip and on the ice at Friday’s practice.

The Coyotes give the nod in their crease to Louis Domingue. Domingue took a loss on Thursday behind a 24-of-27 night against the Winnipeg Jets, and enters play with four wins and an .895 save percentage in 10 starts. The 6-foot-3 Domingue has appeared in one game against the B’s in his NHL career, and it was a 28-minute relief effort in which he stopped all 14 shots against.

This is the first of two meetings between the Bruins and Yotes this season.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Bruins

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Ryan Spooner – David Krejci – David Backes

Matt Beleskey – Riley Nash – Austin Czarnik

Tim Schaller – Dominic Moore – Jimmy Hayes

Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

John-Michael Liles – Colin Miller

Rask

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson