BostonBruins.com - There are certain words that always come up when talking about Bruins' netminder Tuukka Rask.
Head Coach Claude Julien touched on all of them Tuesday morning prior to Game Three.
"He's been steady," said Coach Julien, when speaking to media pregame. "Our team's played pretty well in front of him. He's calm, confident, and steady."
In Sunday's 5-2 win, Rask made 35 saves on 37 shots, including 15 of 16 in a second period where the Bruins admittedly had too many turnovers and gave up too many odd-man rushes. One of those miscues in the middle frame resulted in a Rick Nash partial breakaway goal. But Rask denied all others for the rest of the game, allowing his team to extend their lead.
Following the win, Rask was asked if his play through the beginning of the playoffs has given him more confidence. The netminder slightly shook his head, with his usual laid back demeanor.
"My confidence is always high. That's just how I try to be," said Rask. "No matter what happens, I try to stay calm and even-keeled. Confidence can’t go any lower or higher, I think."
We've seen the 26-year-old get riled up at times on the ice, sure, but no matter the situation on the ice - heavy traffic, bad bounce, odd-man rush, overtime - between the whistles, Rask is always calm.
"I try to stay calm all the time, but I guess no reason to worry. It's not going to help if you're shaking out there," Rask has said to me.
There was much talk about the goaltender match-up heading into this series, with Henrik Lundqvist possibly having the upper hand, given the higher level of established experience.
But for Lundqvist, the 5-2 Bruins' win Sunday marked the first time Lundqvist had given up more than three goals to the Bruins.
"I respect him a lot, he's a great goalie, I've met him a couple times, he's a nice guy. I think the respect is pretty big," Rask said in between Games Two and Three. "For us, it's just trying to keep the puck out of the net. It's not playing against the other goalies, it's fighting with yourself and trying to keep the puck out of the net and give your team a chance to win."
"It's a good challenge obviously. I know that I can’t let in any lead goals most nights because he is who he is. But then again it's a team game and we’re more focused on the Rangers than any individual."
Rask always has the backing of his teammates, who know he'll give them a chance every game.
"He's been huge," said Marchand. "Not just this series, but throughout the whole playoffs. He gives us an opportunity to win every night and we really need him to keep going. He's been very instrumental in our success so far."
"I don't think we give enough credit to Tuukka," added Paille. "We talk amongst ourselves in the room how great he is. He's proven in the past that he can play a solid game and, for us, he was great, he was definitely one of our top players. It gives us a lot of confidence when we have a goalie like that back there."
Alternate captain Patrice Bergeron mirrored his teammates. "He's been great for us all year," said Bergeron. "In the playoffs, he comes up big every time we need him. It's great to have. He's been awesome for us so far in the playoffs. Just his poise and his composure in the net just calms us down."
"I've been saying it for years, he's a very calming influence back there, he's always in control," said Shawn Thornton. "He always makes the stops when we need them. He's been great and I'm sure he'll continue to be great."
"I think when you look around, Tuukka has probably been our most consistent player all year," said center Chris Kelly.
"Goaltending has never been a worry for us."