BOSTON (CBS) — Tuukka Rask doesn’t look like a goalie who was out for nearly a month with a bad back. Rask stopped everything that went his way in a 2-0 Bruins victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, earning his first shutout of the season.
Rask turned away all 32 shots that the Sabres sent at him Tuesday night, helping Boston hang on for its fifth straight victory. It was Rask’s 51st shutout of his career, and it wouldn’t have been possible without an eye-popping sequence of rejections in the first period.
With Boston up 1-0 in the first period, Rask turned away three quick scoring chances by the Sabres. He stopped the initial shot off the stick of Rasmus Dahlin from the right point before sending away a rebound bid at the doorstep by Arttu Ruotsalainen.
Ruotsalainen’s rebound was a juicy one though, and Dylan Cozens ended up with a great look at an empty net on the left side. At least it was empty until Rask went sprawling to make a third straight save, keeping the Sabres off the board and all the momentum on Boston’s side.
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It certainly didn’t look like Rask’s back, which kept him out of action for nearly a month, was bothering him during that sequence.
“It’s half skill, half luck,” Rask said of his “Save of the Year” entry from Tuesday night’s win. “You’re in desperation mode at that point. You can’t push over to that side, so you just throw anything at the puck that you can and hope it hits you. Today, it did.”
Rask was solid and steady throughout the victory, never giving the Sabres a chance to get anything going. He stopped eight shots in the final six minutes of the game.
The netminder improved to 11-4-2 on the season with a .222 goals against average and .916 save percentage with Tuesday night’s win. Rask has looked fresh and healthy since his return last week, and is feeling good heading into the stretch run of the season.
“It’s maintaining the strength and health as much as possible, get rest when I need it and not push it too much,” said Rask. “Hopefully I will be able to play many, many months ahead. But I’m feeling good.”