WILMINGTON — No one was harder on Tuukka Rask than Tuukka Rask.
After allowing four goals — including the double-overtime winner — in a 4-3 Game 1 loss to the Canadiens, the Bruins goaltender said, “I was [expletive] today. Got to be better” and “If you suck, you suck.”
Rask’s teammates, though, didn’t agree with his assessment.
“That’s him,” Patrice Bergeron said. “He always has high standards and expects himself to be at his best all the time. He’s been like that for us all year. I thought he was good for us and he always wants to be better. He wants to win games for us, and I know he’s going to bounce back [Saturday].”
Rask has not had much success against the Canadiens. He is 3-10 against Montreal in the regular season, with a 2.63 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.
“Tukes is very hard on himself,” Brad Marchand said. “He competes very hard and he expects to be his best every night. He played well [Thursday] night and made a lot of really big saves. I think you’ve just got to let him do what he does and prepare for the next game.”
For Rask, it wasn’t just the comments postgame. He threw a water bottle in frustration during the game, a minor outburst for a goaltender known for occasionally smashing sticks against goalposts and boards.
“It’s emotions, and he expects a lot out of himself, so he’s in a better place today,” coach Claude Julien said. “He just had a good night’s sleep and we all know how he is. He’ll bounce back.”
He later added, “He was screened on a lot of those shots there, so as hard as he was on him, I don’t think we’re as hard on Tuukka as he was on himself. But that’s Tuukka being Tuukka.”
Matt Bartkowski took two penalties in Game 1, and the Canadiens scored on both, including the winner. But that wasn’t the real reason Bartkowski was unhappy with his game.
“The penalties aside, I just don’t think I played a very good game,’’ he said. “I have to be better. It’s just a short memory. Take what you can from it, learn from it, and fix the mistakes.”
Bergeron was named a finalist for the NHL Foundation Award, along with Brent Burns of the Sharks and Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks. The award goes to the NHL player who does the most to “enrich the lives of people in his community.” . . . The Bruins had an optional practice at Ristuccia Arena Friday, with nine skaters and one goaltender taking part. Bergeron, Johnny Boychuk, Andrej Meszaros, Bartkowski, Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, Jordan Caron, Justin Florek, Dennis Seidenberg, and Chad Johnson took part.Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.