Tuukka's Still Tuukka
BostonBruins.com - On Friday afternoon, Tuukka Rask stood in front of his stall at TD Garden, his backwards hat answering questions about his Game Four miscue for the second time in less than 24 hours.
And just as he was Thursday night at Madison Square Garden - and for every one of his interviews, for that matter - the Bruins' netminder was honest and candid.
When asked if he had seen the replay of the goal that saw him lose an edge and watch as a Rangers' backhander trickled past the goal line, Rask affirmed, "I saw it."
"I saw it many times in my head, too. You can either cry about our laugh about it. I decided it's better to have a sense of humor, laugh about."
"Tough break, those happen. But to be honest, I think throughout the years I've been pretty good making those 'Not Top 10' lists. So, here we are again."
A reporter gathered around his stall asked if he remembers the others.
"Well, usually it's just mental breakdowns," he responded. "But now it was a goal."
A stick whack against the boards there, a tumble here, a milk crate thrown there. Despite those "breakdowns," it's been well-documented on this site just how cool, calm and collected the netminder continues to be, even amidst strange bounces and tough breaks like the one Thursday night.
It's a life lesson, really, how Rask has learned to put them all quickly in the past.
"Well, it didn't decide the game. it gave them momentum, but it wasn't in overtime or anything. I'm sure we move on and everybody forgets about it," said the goaltender. "At least it's not in the back of your head every day."
Back on Thursday night, barely 10 minutes after the overtime had ended, he was answering questions just as calmly as he did the following day.
"I just took a step to the side and I think there was probably a skate mark or something and my skate dug in it. That's what it felt like and I just lost my balance and the rest is history," he had said, attempting to describe what happened on New York's first goal.
"It just happens to me twice a year in practice, maybe. Focus, got to be more focused I think. But just a tough mistake. Looks pretty bad on TV, I bet."
"Just sloppy, I think. It kind of freezes you like, 'what the heck happened?' You still have a second to decide whether you're going to try to scramble with the paddle down or just try to whack it away. I just tried to whack it away and it's just awful."
The accountability was step one, and step two is just simply moving on, as any goaltender has to do not only within the game, but even more so, from game to game.
And that is exactly what Rask has done.
Though, he said there isn't just "one key" to putting it behind him.
"I don't know if there's one key. I think you either decide to cry about it or have a sense of humor about it. I think that's it. You've just got to move on, you let in a goal and at the end of the day it doesn't matter, it's still a goal. Some days it sucks to be a goalie."
Coach Julien was moving on, as well, knowing his goaltender will be himself between the pipes come Saturday night.
"It’s things that happen," said Julien. "We know the impact it had. He lets one of those in and how many does he save for us? You kind of balance those things out. It becomes a non-issue."
"What happened, happened," said Rask's teammate, David Krejci. "We can't bring it back now. We have a new game. Before the series, if you guys told me we would be up 3-1, I would take it."
"I'm happy with where the team is. Even though we went to overtime last night, especially my line, we have way more than we showed. That's a positive thing, we know we're going to be better tomorrow."
"There's just something about him, you look at him in net, he's so collected back there," said blueiner Torey Krug, who has voiced many times just how communicative Rask is back there.
"It's a good feeling for a defenseman, especially for myself, who takes a bit of risk sometimes, trying to jump into the play. I know he's back there and he's going to make a big save if I get caught out of position. That's a good feeling."
"In playoffs you've just got to move on after a good game or a bad game, just got to move on and focus on the next one," said Rask.
"We have to have everybody going, everybody playing their best, then we're going to have a chance to win a hockey game."