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Backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson won’t let loss get him down

Jonas Gustavsson, yanked during Friday’s overtime loss at Calgary, couldn’t net a win Monday vs. Nashville.Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Sometimes when a backup goaltender is pulled from a game — for whatever reason — he ends up getting a lengthy sitdown, his only duties opening and closing the bench door. That happened often last season with Niklas Svedberg.

But that was not the case for Jonas Gustavsson, who received another shot just three days after being yanked Friday night against Calgary. That part was good. The result just wasn’t exactly as he had hoped.

Gustavsson gave up three goals on 33 shots in Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Predators at TD Garden after giving up three goals on 11 shots to the Flames on Friday. Two of those Nashville goals came on the power play, both scored by Roman Josi.


Perhaps the most questionable was the last, the game-winner, on which Viktor Arvidsson was able to draw Gustavsson out of his crease before cutting across to throw the puck into the empty net. Gustavsson didn’t have much help, as Kevan Miller lost an edge at the top of the left circle, leaving Arvidsson to go in essentially unchecked.

“I didn’t think he had that much time, but I guess I read the situation wrong,” Gustavsson said. “That’s how it is. I tried to poke-check it, and he managed to get it in. That’s just one of those plays, and they scored a goal.”

Asked why he attempted the poke check, he said: “I felt like there was some pressure coming from my left side, coming at me. I thought he was going to have to make a shot there, but he faked a shot, and then I was feeling, OK, then I’m going to be close enough to him so I can at least poke the puck away. I don’t know how far away I am from poking it, but once again, that’s how it is. Sometimes you manage to get that poke or whatever the situation is, and sometimes you don’t and they score a goal.”


Gustavsson was peppered with shots, especially in the second period, when the Bruins went without a shot for the final 9:07 of the period after Loui Eriksson scored the team’s second goal. That included Josi’s second, a power-play strike at 11:20 of the period. Nashville had 12 shots in the session.

When coach Claude Julien pulled Gustavsson from Friday’s game in Calgary, he said he made the move to try to give the Bruins momentum, not because Gustavsson was unworthy of finishing the game. He maintained that on Monday.

“I didn’t think Gus was that bad on Friday, and he knew that. I told him that,” Julien said. “Personally, I just felt that he didn’t seem at ease as much as I’d seen him before, so I made the switch to give us a chance to win. But there was nothing wrong with him.

“We had planned on playing him tonight as a fresh goaltender because we wanted Tuukka in Vancouver. And he did the job for us tonight. I think the number of shots he faced and everything else, he gave us a chance.”

Gustavsson said he wasn’t exactly happy with his performance on Friday, nor was he happy with his performance on Monday, given the results. As he put it: “You’re never happy when you’re not getting the win, but I felt pretty good overall. You never leave the rink happy when you lose the game, because winning, that’s what it’s all about.”


With the Canadiens coming up on Wednesday — in Montreal — it seems Tuukka Rask will get that start. The Bruins then play Saturday’s against the Panthers. So it’s unclear when the backup will get his next chance. Gustavsson has made eight starts this season, going 5-2-0 with a 2.57 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. He has allowed at least two goals in each of his last five starts.

Asked if he feels like he’s getting into a rhythm, Gustavsson said: “Yeah. I’ve been feeling pretty good, playing every third or fourth game or so. Whatever the situation is, you’ve got to figure out a way to stay sharp and stay ready, whether that’s playing three or four games in a row or a couple times a month.

“You’ve got to find a way and find something that works for you. So far it’s been pretty good.”

And he was happy to get back in net so quickly after his last outing — even if Monday didn’t exactly represent his best work.

“You want to play,” Gustavsson said. “You want get a chance to play, and obviously after a loss and getting pulled like that, you want to get right back at it. I was excited about the start tonight. Just tried to do my best and help the team.”

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@ globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.