Back Check with the Bruins Buff

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rags @ B's Recap -- 1/31/2009

Game #50
(1) Boston Bruins
(4) New York Rangers
Final Score: Bruins 1, Rangers 0

First Period

No Points Recorded

Second Period

Bruins goal by M. Savard
Bruins assists from M. Lucic, D. Wideman

Third Period

No Points Recorded

The Good

1.) The Curious Case of Tuukka Rask

Tuukka Rask turned heads with outstanding goaltending during the Bruins training camp last summer. But despite his admirable performance, the rookie was sent down to the minors at the season's start.

He came into this afternoon with four NHL games under his belt, posting a 3.25 goals against average and a .886 save percentage.

Wipe those stats from your memory. There's a new Tuukka Rask in town -- a Tuukka that's ready for the big league.

The Finnish Flash stopped all 35 shots from the Rangers this afternoon, posting his first career NHL shutout. He showcased his tremendous speed, cunning flexibility, and agile reflexes to keep the Black and Gold on top.

With a little work on his rebound control, Tuukka could take over the starting position as early as next season.

2.) Iron Man -- Marc Savard

Bruins center Marc Savard was already hot coming into tonight's game. The former Ranger had points in seven straight games, including one goal and one assist against the Devils on Thursday.

Savard scored the lone Bruins goal with 20 seconds left in the second period. The All-Star tipped the puck in with a beautiful deflection off an initial shot by Dennis Wideman.

The tally brings Savard's goal total to 19 on the year, a four-goal improvement over last season. But don't expect Savard to stop there -- he's capable of even more. The All-Star potted 28 goals with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2005-2006.

3.) The Dark Knight -- Aaron Ward

The Warrior played one of his best games of the season this afternoon. Ward led the team with four blocked shots and five hits, notching more than 21 minutes of ice time.

His veteran presence and leadership on the blueline continues to be essential to the success of the team. And Ward -- a three-time Stanley Cup champion -- has experience that will no doubt come in handy in the post-season.

He currently stands at a +14 rating this year.

The Bad

1.) Slumdog Millionaire -- Tuukka Rask's Cap Hit

Though Rask put on an excellent performance this afternoon, the B's brass can't overlook his cap hit if he were to remain on the squad.

Boston would have to pay more than $3 million in salary and bonuses to keep Rask on the roster this season. With more than $5 million already locked up between Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez, it doesn't seem plausible for Tuukka to mind the pipes for the big club.

That is, unless the B's swap one of the two veteran 'tenders for prospects, draft picks, or a cheap veteran player before the trade deadline.

The Ugly

A shutout win against one of the top teams in the East? Nothing ugly about that.


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