Tuukka Rask stormed off the ice and down the tunnel. He had been pulled from the game, and he was not happy. Rask just allowed his third goal to the Canadiens, a team that has not often brought out his best work, at 11:54 of the second period, and had been replaced by Chad Johnson.
Rask walked back, slammed the bench door shut, and took his seat.
He allowed the goals on 18 shots, marking the fourth time in his last 16 outings he’s been removed from the game. He was not pulled once last season.
Asked why he made the decision, coach Claude Julien said, “It’s a lot of everything. That’s decisions I make and I don’t feel like I have to explain every time.”
Julien turned testy when pressed on the issue, saying, “I don’t think I have to explain myself why I pull a goalie. Because this isn’t going to be one of those things where we’re going to make a big story out of a pulled goalie. Our team was poor tonight, OK? So maybe sometimes you pull a goalie for different reasons, and I don’t think I have to explain everything to you guys [the media] for the reasons, because there’s a lot of decisions that I make that are for inside that dressing room, not necessarily for everyone to share.”
Rask, meanwhile, had calmed by the time he spoke to the media after the game, saying he felt “OK” in goal.
“I play as long as they tell me to play,” he said. “So I try to battle out there as hard as I can. I stay out there as long as I possibly can, and today it lasted a little over one period. It’s too bad.”
Of the three goals Rask allowed, one (by Max Pacioretty at 14:32 of the first) was a partial breakaway, so it didn’t seem as if the goalie was having a particularly bad night, the breakout the result of a Daniel Paille turnover. The other two goals came on a point shot from Alexei Emelin at 2:16 of the first with traffic in front of the net, and a power-play score by Brian Gionta.
“Not awful goals, but you always, you’d like to stop everything, right?” Rask said. “But today I didn’t.”
And it cost him a spot in net, as he ceded the goal yet again to Johnson.
The loss brought Rask’s career record against Montreal to 2-10-2, by far the most losses he has against any opponent. He has five losses each against the Sabres and Penguins.
“I don’t know,” Rask said. “I haven’t played too many bad games against them, just can’t get the wins. I mean, it [stinks], but what can you do? Just hopefully by the end of my career, [the stats] are better.”
Needing a push
The Bruins certainly had been playing well of late, but Julien cautioned that “doesn’t mean you’re playing a perfect game.”
He added, “Any time the other team gets scoring chances, there’s something you’re not doing well.”
For instance, Dougie Hamilton was impressive in his first game back from a concussion, but had dropped off a bit in the next two, before scoring the Bruins’ lone goal against the Canadiens.
“The last two games he’s been OK, and that’s being honest, and OK doesn’t mean bad, either,” Julien said before the game. “I just know he’s a great player, he’s a young player. And it’s always about us pushing him to be the best player he can be.
“To me, he really impressed me in that first game he came back, and the last two games there’s certain elements in his game we feel he can be better at. But he still brings that great playmaking ability, he moves the puck up the ice well, he’s been good for us on the power play. For him, the issues right now are any issues that a young defenseman has in this league and we’re going to keep working with him on those.”
Price gets rest
The Canadiens opted to go with backup goalie Peter Budaj, rather than Carey Price. “We have to maintain the energy physically and mentally to Carey Price, and we’ve got four games this week in six days, so this is important for us to make sure Carey is sharp and make sure he’s sharp physically, mentally,’’ said coach Michel Therrien. “Carey has played a lot of hockey lately, so we decided to go with Peter.’’ Price had played eight straight games. Budaj got the win, stopping 34 of 35 shots . . . The Bruins are 0-4-1 against the Canadiens in their last five meetings . . . The Bruins’ 28th home game marked the deepest into a schedule the Canadiens had visited for the first time, though they hadn’t visited until Feb. 1 back in 2001. That was the 26th Bruins’ home game . . . Burlington native Jay Pandolfo, who played 18 games for the Bruins last season, officially announced his retirement. The Boston University alumnus played 899 NHL games and won the Stanley Cup twice with the Devils.Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.