TORONTO — Tuukka Rask will not win the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie. It will likely go to Sergei Bobrovsky, one of three finalists announced by the NHL on Wednesday. Antti Niemi and Henrik Lundqvist are the other finalists.
But as his coach noted earlier Wednesday, Rask is hunting a bigger prize. After the 4-3 Game 4 win in overtime, Rask is 13 wins from placing his mitts around the trophy he’d prefer.
“Sometimes you control what you can,” Claude Julien said. “What he can control right now is how well he plays and how well he’s going to continue to play through these playoffs. That’s more valuable than the little individual trophy that is voted by different people. At the end of the day, everybody’s told you the same thing: You aim for the big trophy, which is more important than the individual one.”
In Game 4, Rask was at his best when his team needed it the most: in overtime. The Maple Leafs were flying.
They ripped through the neutral zone to put the Bruins back on their heels. The howling Toronto attack snapped 11 shots in overtime. Rask turned them all aside.
Joffrey Lupul, who had beaten Rask at 2:35 of the first period, thought he netted the winning goal at 7:53 of OT. The sneaky Lupul gained separation from Andrew Ference, found daylight in the slot, and winged a puck on goal. Rask snatched the puck with his glove. Lupul shook his head in disbelief.
“I don’t know if it was an odd-man rush or a one-on-one,” Rask said. “Andy was trying to block it. I cheated glove side a bit because I thought there was no chance he was going blocker side. I saw it at the last second and made the save.”
Rask also had help from a post in overtime. Rask was square to Matt Frattin and had everything closed down. Frattin snapped a puck that sailed over Rask’s blocker but pinged off the left post at 6:00.
“I just tried to stay calm and give the team a chance to go score that goal,” Rask said of his overtime approach. “Today, it paid off.”
Rask posted a 19-10-5 record, 2.00 goals-against average, and .929 save percentage during the regular season. Rask had a lower GAA than Niemi (2.16) and Lundqvist (2.05). Rask also had a better save percentage than Lundqvist (.926) and Niemi (.924).
Lucic, Kelly require repairs
Chris Kelly and Milan Lucic had to retreat to the dressing room after both suffered cuts to the face. Kelly was high-sticked by Nazem Kadri at 0:58 of the third period. Kadri was called for a double-minor after appearing to clip Kelly on the cheek. Kelly returned and finished the game.
Late in the first period, during a Bruins power play, a deflected Zdeno Chara shot caught Lucic above the right eye.
Lucic went to the room before the end of the period. He required nine stitches to close the cut. Lucic does not wear a shield.
“Thankfully it hit me in the eyebrow and it wasn’t lower,” Lucic said. “I kind of felt like I got kicked in the head there when the puck hit me.”
Lucic was on the dealing end of Mark Fraser’s facial injury. At 7:49 of the third, Lucic’s shot caught Fraser in the forehead. Fraser does not wear a visor, either.
Fraser left the game and walked to the dressing room without assistance. The defenseman didn’t return.
Fraser was scheduled to visit a Toronto hospital for a CT scan after the game.
“I saw him get escorted out of the arena,” Lucic said. “It wasn’t an eye injury for him, that’s good to see, that he didn’t receive an eye injury. He was up and walking on his own. It’s a part of the game. We have the choices of wearing visors or not. Luckily for us, not more damage happened than could have happened.”
Forty-four seconds after the Bruins grabbed a 3-2 lead, Clarke MacArthur halted Boston’s momentum by scoring his first goal of the series. MacArthur had been a healthy scratch for Games 2 and 3. He was back in the Game 4 lineup, replacing Ryan Hamilton on the No. 3 line.
MacArthur’s goal was the first for any of Toronto’s bottom-six forwards. Joffrey Lupul (3), Phil Kessel (2), and James van Riemsdyk (2) are the only other forwards to score.
Before Game 4, Randy Carlyle wanted his grinders to apply themselves to crashing the net more effectively.
“Scoring is going to be at a premium as games get more tight — more important and tighter to the vest the way defensive schemes are put in place when the games mean so much,” said the Toronto coach. “In the playoffs, it’s not easy to score in the NHL. The one thing we’ve always asked of our players is to have a strong middle lane. That’s always somebody driving to the net with the puck directed in that direction. A lot of the goals that are scored are mostly rebound goals coming off pads.”
Bergeron breaks drought
Patrice Bergeron scored his first goal of the series at 0:32 of the second. It was the first goal for the line of Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Tyler Seguin . . . Chara assisted on all four goals to set a career high in postseason helpers in one game. It was the first four-assist performance for a Bruin in the playoffs since May 3, 1991, when Vladimir Ruzicka turned the trick against Pittsburgh . . . The Bruins rolled out the same lineup in Game 4 as they did in Game 3. Dougie Hamilton, Aaron Johnson, Carl Soderberg, Kaspars Daugavins, and Jay Pandolfo were the healthy scratches . . . The Bruins rolled 11 forwards late in the game. Shawn Thornton (6:42) was the odd man out. Jaromir Jagr took shifts with Kelly and Rich Peverley, his usual linemates, as well as Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell . . . The Leafs won 45 percent of the faceoffs. Tyler Bozak, repeatedly tossed from the circle in Game 3, went 18 for 36. Carlyle met with Kay Whitmore, the NHL supervisor assigned to the series, prior to Game 4. The Leafs didn’t think the Bruins were following faceoff protocol in Game 3. Scott Cherrey and Brian Murphy were the Game 4 linesmen . . . Nathan Horton was not seen in the dressing room after the game. Horton was slow to get up after taking a wallop from Dion Phaneuf prior to David Krejci’s overtime winner.