Rask is solid, but teammates are ‘sloppy’
In hindsight, the first-period goal Tuukka Rask allowed to Danny Briere in Game 4 — a sharp-angle slap shot that slithered between his pads — was one the rookie goalie should have kicked out.
Last night, there was nothing soft about Rask’s game.
“Tonight, it was definitely our team not being very good in front of Tuukka,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “Last game, there were a couple goals that we felt, and Tuukka felt, that he should have had. But it is what it is. This is the playoffs.’’
In theory, if Brian Boucher is unavailable for tomorrow’s Game 6, the Bruins should have the netminding advantage with Rask against Michael Leighton. But the Flyers have proven that with net-front heat, relentless cycling, and repeated blasts on goal, even a hotshot like Rask can be beaten.
“I thought we were kind of sloppy in front of our net and in front of their net too,’’ said Rask, who had 27 saves. “That’s something that’s really crucial in the playoffs.’’
Rask has lost twice in a row for the first time in the postseason. Compared with the on-and-off net-front pressure he faced against Buffalo, Rask has been feeling Philly’s relentless attack full blast in close quarters. In the first period, Ville Leino, from the low slot, swatted home the rebound of a Chris Pronger shot. In the second, Rask could do nothing to stop Scott Hartnell’s close-range tuck in, nor could he do anything about Simon Gagne’s bang-bang slot strike. In the third, Gagne netted his second on a breakaway after Dennis Wideman’s stick buckled at the offensive blue line.
“They got the puck in the offensive zone, and it was very difficult to get the puck back from them,’’ Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said of his No. 2 line of Leino, Hartnell, and Danny Briere. “Ville was excellent. I think Scott’s played two of his best games in a row. Danny has been for some time now. They got into the offensive zone and they were cycling the puck. They were moving for each other.’’
“I just got fired up,’’ said Marc Savard, who touched off a scrum with Mike Richards when the Philadelphia captain checked him into the boards in the third. “I got hit the other night in Philly from behind. Then I was facing the glass again in the same situation. And I look back at [David Krejci, who suffered a dislocated right wrist when he was hit by Richards in Game 3] and enough is enough.’’
But the Bruins had been taking penalties all night.
At 13:43 of the first, Vladimir Sobotka put the penalty kill on duty for four minutes when he opened up Hartnell with a high stick. The Bruins killed the first half of the penalty, then got some relief when the Flyers were called for too many men at 16:21.
But the Bruins continued their undisciplined play. At 18:33 of the first, Miroslav Satan was nabbed for tripping. At 11:56 of the second, Savard took an undisciplined roughing penalty when he tagged Kimmo Timonen along the boards. At 17:00 of the second, Steve Begin was called for boarding Claude Giroux. Then at 19:22, Andrew Ference closed out the second-period naughtiness by taking a cross-checking penalty.
“If you’re not winning battles for the puck, you’re not playing with it,’’ said Julien. “We didn’t create that many shots. When you’re being outworked, you get frustrated and you take penalties like you saw us do tonight.’’
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.