BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins were never worried about goaltender Tuukka Rask’s slow start to the season and he’s rewarding their faith in him.
Rask continued his recent hot play with his first shutout of the season, making 33 saves in a 2-0 win against the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden on Tuesday.
The Blues had won 10 of their past 11 games and were averaging close to three goals per game.
“It’s the same as every game. I just try to give us a chance to win,” Rask said. “As far as the team goes, whenever we play defense like that and keep them on the outside, for the most part, it makes my job easier and I expect to make those saves. Today that was the case for the most part and helps my job, as I said. It doesn’t matter if you play against the best team in the League or the worst team in the League, if you give them chances in the slot, chances are they’re going to score, so today we pretty well eliminated that.”
Rask made 15 saves in the third period. The Bruins had three shots on goal in the third. Rask is 10-5-0 with a .915 save percentage and 2.38 goals-against average.
“Yeah, third period probably wasn’t our best period today,” Rask said. “We started off good but then obviously their [defensemen] are going to join the rush and they’re going to have four or five guys jumping. We gave them too much room in the middle of the ice to make those cross-ice passes and they came in and found the late guy too many times. Something we have to fix I think, but ... two-goal leads are the worst ones in hockey and I feel like I have to stand up, and today myself and the defense did a good job in front of the net.”
Center Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Torey Krug scored for the Bruins (12-8-0), who have won six in a row at home.
The Bruins' defensive effort was more impressive because they played most of the second and third periods without defenseman Adam McQuaid, who left the game with 15:01 remaining in the second. McQuaid appeared to injure his arm or hand blocking a shot by Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Bruins coach Claude Julien did not have an update on McQuaid afterward.
“You’ve got to take time and look at how young we are back there and the way we’re handling ourselves. Credit those guys for doing the job,” Julien said. “Again, we may not be where we want to be right now, but those guys are battling, and like I said we’re a young crew right now and the way that they handled themselves against a pretty powerful team, they deserve a lot of credit.”
The Blues (12-5-1) had their three-game winning streak snapped. Blues goaltender Brian Elliott made 15 saves; St. Louis outshot Boston 33-17.
“Well I just think they kept us on the perimeter all night,” St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. “I know we had a lot of shots on goal, but we weren’t really a threat. We were trying to make the extra play all night, rather than pound it in and look for the greasy goal. They allowed us to enter the zone, kept us on the perimeter, and we stayed on the perimeter all night. [We] did the same thing on the power play. I think in style points, it looked probably like we were playing good, but there was no detail in doing the hard things that you have to on the road to score. We just allowed ourselves to stay on the perimeter.”
Bergeron took advantage of a St. Louis turnover to give Boston a 1-0 lead. After Elliott handed off the puck to defenseman Ian Cole behind the Blues net, Cole spun and passed to the front of the net, where Bergeron shot the puck past Elliott at 5:46 of the first period.
The Blues outshot the Bruins 8-7 in the first. St. Louis carried play early in the second period and it took Boston 6:48 to land their first shot on goal. Krug turned the momentum Boston’s way with a goal from the top of the right circle at 11:31.
“We make our own luck, we have to put more in to get more out,” Blues forward David Backes said. “We played a tough opponent today that made it hard for all of the ice that was out there. Maybe that was a little bit of a surprise with how hard they were playing and we are not going to make excuses, we need to bring a little bit more to earn those spaces to get to loose pucks and find a way to whack a few in.”
The Bruins thought they had another goal with nine seconds left. However, Carl Soderberg’s backhand pass to the front of the net went off Matt Fraser’s torso and past Elliott. The goal was waved off because of goaltender interference.
“Yeah, and to me it should have been a goal,” Julien said. “In my mind the puck’s in, it hits him, and it goes in before he even touches the goaltender. But those are unfortunately not reviewable, so he gets deprived from a goal.”
The Blues will look to bounce back on the road against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. The Bruins will travel to face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.