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A 32-save shutout over the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Monday night was just another day at the office of Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask
Well, a record-setting day, anyways.
In his second shutout in five games since his return to action, the 29-year-old Rask moved into sole possession of the No. 3 spot on the club’s all-time shutouts list, passing former teammate Tim Thomas, with whom he was tied with for all of three games, with the 32nd zero of his NHL career.
“Obviously it’s a very long history with this organization so it’s good to have your name in the record books – when you retire you’re going to look at those,” Rask said. “Until then it doesn’t really matter.”
Rask charged further into the record books with the help of an unlikely source: the B’s power play.
“I think our power play stepped up big time,” Rask said. “Got those huge goals, we had a lot of time there to make plays and create scoring chances. We took advantage of that. After Saturday’s game we talked about it and we knew we needed to be better on special teams and today we were.”
In a 3-for-8 night for the club’s man advantage, their first night with at least three power-play goals since Feb. 20, 2016’s blowout win over the Dallas Stars (a 7-3 final for Boston), the Bruins opened up the game’s scoring behind power-play goals from Brad Marchand and David Krejci.
Riley Nash, with the help of a Buffalo skate, made it 3-0 after 40 minutes of play, while David Pastrnak
’s NHL-leading eighth goal of the year, a power-play goal, made it 4-0.
“In order to be successful, you have to outwork the penalty kill. That’s always been the case,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien
said after the win. “And we have a tendency sometimes on the power play to think, we’ve got the extra guy we’ve just got to take it easy. But at the same time I think we did a better job of finding the seams and getting shots at the net and, you know, jumping on those loose pucks and rebounds. So those are the kind of things that we need from our power play.”
The win was Julien’s 400th behind the Boston bench.
“You had to ask didn’t you?” a smiling Julien said when asked of the 400th win. “Another number, another number. So I move on from those. It’s great. I always say it’s something I guess I can cherish down the road but right now I just have to keep plugging away.”
Random thoughts and notes
- Finally, the Bruins saw results from multiple members of their third line. Nash scored a goal, and both Matt Beleskey and Austin Czarnik picked up power-play assists (on different goals, too). A total of three points from a third line that entered play with just two on the entire year? You’ll take it.
“At one point you need those guys to produce and you know, things are starting to turn around,” Julien said of the Beleskey-Nash-Czarnik combo. “When you have better balanced scoring it makes it a lot easier for your team and a lot tougher for the other team to defend against.”
- Boston winger Brad Marchand was an absolute nightmare for the Sabres all night long.
With one goal on three shots, Marchand’s impact was felt in all three zones, as the pesky winger created chance after chance whenever the puck was on his stick. In the midst of becoming one of the league’s must-watch talents in the attacking zone, even Marchand’s linemates find themselves unsure what to do when the 5-foot-9 buzzes all around the ice like he did in Monday’s victory.
“I think, I don’t know, I think I should go on the bench when he’s all over the ice because he’s everywhere,” David Pastrnak joked after the win. “I don’t need to be there, right? No, I’m just joking.
“He’s a great player, you know, especially tonight. He’s everywhere, you know, he’s strong on the puck and he makes great plays, so for me it’s just try to find a spot and get open and, how I said, those two guys are great to play with and I’m really happy we’re getting some chances.”
- Fourth-line forward Noel Acciari
exited this one early with an apparent injury and there was not an update from Julien after the game. Acciari, who has been an absolute physical tank on the team’s fourth line, led all B’s skaters with four hits tonight. If Acciari is out of action tomorrow night, expect Jimmy Hayes
, a healthy scratch for the last two games, to draw back into the lineup.
The Bruins are right back at it on Tuesday night with a visit to the Bell Centre to take on the Canadiens. The Habs took the only prior head-to-head between the two by a 4-2 final on Oct. 22.
Ty Anderson has been covering the National Hockey League for HockeyBuzz.com since 2010 and has been a member of the Pro Hockey Writers Association's Boston Chapter since 2013. Ty is also the Boston Bruins beat writer for WEEI.com and can also be found in the New England Hockey Journal. Contact him on Twitter or send him an email at Ty.AndersonHB[at]gmail.com.