BOSTON (CBS) — Brad Marchand had himself quite the season opener Thursday night, tallying a pair of points and the shootout winner in Boston’s 3-2 shootout victory over the New Jersey Devils. But after the game, the Bruins forward was heaping praise elsewhere.
For Marchand, the talk of the game was Tuukka. Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask was spectacular in net, turning away 20 shots throughout regulation and overtime before keeping the Devils off the board in the shootout. He made a pair of point-blank saves in overtime, earning him a lot of love from Marchand when the winger took the podium after the game.READ MORE: Spring Is Here: Near Record Warm Temps This Week, More Day Light Coming
“Tuukka is one of the best goalies in the league. He’s the backbone of our team,” said Marchand. “Every great team has a great goalie. That’s what we need out of him if we want to go all the way this year. We need him to be big and he was tonight.”
Rask was at his best in the game’s most intense moments. After the Devils scored a pair of third period goals, Rask turned away all four shots that he saw in a frantic overtime period, including a 200-foot breakaway by Kyle Palmieri. He also stonewalled Jack Hughes on another breakaway as time expired to force the shootout. He then went out and turned away shootout attempts by Nikita Gusev, Jesper Boqvist, and Hughes, and made it look pretty easy.
“That’s what he does. Even when the game gets a little rough for us, he’s calm,” said Marchand. “When you see that out of your goalie, when he’s making that big save, it allows you to kind of calm down and get back on track. We had that tonight.”READ MORE: CDC Says Fully Vaccinated People May Meet Without Masks Or Social Distancing
Rask only saw 11 shots over the first two periods before the Devils put seven shots on goal in the third. Very few of the shots that New Jersey sent his way were “clear shots,” the netminder explained after the game. One of the goals he allowed was deflected four times before it founds its way to the back of the net.
“Every shot was kind of half breakaway or some kind of a deflection off something,” said Rask. “Obviously end of the third period, overtime, tight game, you kind of feel like you deserve the win. Was hoping to make a couple saves.”
This was Rask’s first game action since he departed the NHL bubble last August. Any concerns about the goalie be a little rusty were alleviated early.MORE NEWS: These Are The Most Popular Dog Names In Boston, According To Licensing Data
“His game was excellent,” said Cassidy. “I think he stopped two or three breakaways. Excellent in the shootout. Glad to see him get a win. We don’t score a lot for him in the shootout, so good for Marchy to come through. I thought he looked in midseason form.”