By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Tuukka Rask earned the 299th win of his career on Feb. 28. A month and a half later, he finally has No. 300.READ MORE: "Time for the village to step up": Volunteers help ease nationwide baby formula shortage
Rask returned to the ice on Thursday night for the Bruins after a long layoff due to injury, saving 22 of 23 shots faced to backstop the Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Islanders. After the lengthy wait, Rask finally earned the milestone win.
“Well I think I’ve been fortunate enough to play on a really good team throughout my career. So that helps a lot,” Rask said of the feat. “We’ve had some great defenses throughout the years and I’m just happy to be a part of that. Super grateful that I have been able to play so many years. But it’s a great milestone. It’s one of those that once you’re done playing hockey and years after that, you’ll think about your career and what you accomplished. And it’s probably going to be a nice memory.”
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 16, 2021
The 34-year-old Rask was already the Bruins’ all-time leader in wins, a spot he earned when he passed Tiny Thompson with his 253rd career win back in 2019. (He can become the franchise’s all-time leader in playoff wins with three more victories to pass Gerry Cheevers.) But the milestone of reaching win No. 300 placed him on some smaller lists in NHL history.
For one, he’s now the 37th goalie to ever record 300 regular-season wins. He’s one of seven active goalies to have reached the mark, joining Marc-Andre Fleury (485), Henrik Lundqvist (459), Ryan Miller (390), Pekka Rinne (368), Carey Price (360) and Jonathan Quick (333).
Of those seven goaltenders, Rask ranks second in terms of number of games needed to earn career win No. 300. (Fleury reached the mark in 547 games, while Rask reached it in his 552nd game.)
In terms of NHL history, Rask is tied for fifth all time for fewest games needed to record his 300th win, trailing only Jacques Plante, Andy Moog, Fleury and Martin Brodeur, while matching the mark of fellow Finn Pekka Rinne.
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— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) April 16, 2021
Rask has, of course, recorded all 300 of those wins as a member of the Boston Bruins, who traded Andrew Raycroft to Toronto to acquire him back in 2006.
“Like we all know, this is a great organization, a great hockey town, great sports town. So I didn’t know that when I was coming in here, you know, 18, 19 years old. But I very quickly learned how passionate our fans are,” Rask said. “So it’s been an honor to be here all my career. And like I said earlier, that big thing has been playing in good teams and great defenses, and so that has helped me and other goalies out a lot. So it’s a true honor, and it still keeps going.”
Considering all of Rask’s wins have come with just one organization, he’s on an even rarer list. Rask became the 17th player to earn 300 wins with a single team. And though he may not reach the all-time leader — Martin Brodeur, who won 688 games with the Devils — he can climb past Olaf Kolzig (301 with Washington), Mike RIcheter (301 with the Rangers), Turk Broad (304 with Toronto), Billy Smith (304 with the Islanders) and Miikka Kiprusoff (305 with Calgary) this season.
That will obviously depend on Rask’s health. On that front, Rask reported good news following Thursday’s win.
“I’m gonna be sore for sure. That was to be expected. I felt good. Injury-wise, it was really good. I felt no pain or nothing whatsoever,” Rask said. “So that was mission accomplished there.”
And as long as the health cooperates, Rask figures to be back to his normal workload over the final 15 games of the season.
“He looked rock solid in there,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I thought he looked real sharp tracking pucks, playing the puck, just staying involved in the game. We didn’t give him a heavy workload but he was there when we needed him, and good for him.”MORE NEWS: Bail hearing postponed for Nathan Carman, charged in mom's death at sea
Rask will be on the bench on Friday night for the second game in as many nights against the Islanders. But if his body responds as expected, he’ll be back in the crease on Sunday against Washington, looking for career victory No. 301.