By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Tuukka Rask was the easy target after the Bruins lost to the Kings in stunning, embarrassing fashion on Saturday night. But the defeat at TD Garden can be blamed on a number of factors that, if they didn’t happen, wouldn’t have put the goalie in a position to have to defend a last-second one-timer in the first place.
But thankfully, the goalie did his best to show some accountability after the game.
“I didn’t see that one coming,” Rask said. “Yeah I mean I didn’t see the shot. It’s tough, I guess I should have … I was thinking about standing in the middle of the net in case that happens and I guess I would have been better off doing that. It’s always something new I guess in this game.”
There’s no question that Rask should have taken up as much of the net as possible, as the Kings’ Tyler Toffoli didn’t have enough time to do anything except fire off a slapper and hope to get it on net and see what happens. There was no need to cheat to the short side on what would have essentially been a blind shot.
But the mistakes on the Bruins’ epic blunder go well beyond Rask failing to make the last-second stop. The faceoff was arguably the biggest mistake of them all, as winger David Pastrnak (understandably not adept at taking draws) did pretty much the worst thing possible, which was make no impact on the puck whatsoever. He would have been better off violating the faceoff on purpose and taking a penalty, which could have given the B’s a chance to get Patrice Bergeron on the ice and execute the play properly. Head coach Bruce Cassidy acknowledged Pastrnak’s mistake.
“All we’re asking him to do is basically affect the puck there. Either try to get – not even win it. Obviously we don’t need to win it, we just need some sort of stick on it so it bounces towards the boards. I think that’s what David [Pastrnak] was thinking. If he could push it towards the boards, it has no chance of going backwards. Didn’t happen.”
Pastrnak was aware of how badly he messed up, as evidenced by the way he destroyed his stick on the way to the tunnel.
Even Cassidy himself admitted he could have had the team better prepared for such a moment.
“I learned a lesson tonight. At the end of the day, even with that amount of time, and to think it’s conceivable to think they can drop the puck, win the puck back and get it in the net in 0.9 seconds to me – you don’t even think that can happen,” said Cassidy. “And to travel through a defenseman and a forward, and a goaltender untouched is the last part of it. There were some things we could have done better clearly to prevent that goal.”
Another thing Cassidy didn’t see coming was Torey Krug’s icing that caused the ensuing faceoff in the Bruins’ end. But as usual, a stunned Krug was as accountable as ever about his own mistakes.
“At the end of the day I put the team in that situation and I can’t do that, I got to be better, have better awareness,” said Krug. “Take better care of the puck and help the team out instead of hurt it.”
As shocking and utterly embarrassing as the loss was, the guilty parties stepped up and owned their mistake. The silver lining is that the Bruins took three out of four points against two formidable opponents and sound ready to turn the page. It’s important that you don’t let disappointments like Saturday night’s linger. Even if these Bruins ultimately don’t have the talent or experience to be legit contenders in the Eastern Conference this season, they at least sound like they have a short memory.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, CBS, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.