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This Rookie Certainly Doesn't Act the Part

Wednesday, 11.21.2007 / 7:11 AM ET / Features
By John Bishop  -
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This Rookie Certainly Doesn\'t Act the Part
Rask makes a save.
Toronto, ON -- Like a scene out of Hollywood's Jerry MaguireTuukka Rask  was surrounded by a huge media scrum following his win over Toronto. The reporters in that scrum might have expected a deer-in-the-headlights kind of reaction from the young Finnish goalie.

Not so.

In fact, question after question after question was hurled at Rask over the course of nearly a half an hour and the young goalie just fielded them the same way he had handled most of the 32 shots sent his way by the Maple Leafs -- that would be expertly.

Rask a-matter-of-factly admitted that he was, indeed, a "little bit" nervous before the game.

"It's your first NHL game -- you're nervous," he said. "But when I stepped on the ice it (was) gone."

The next question was about his first two NHL goals against -- lucky or unlucky (depending on your point of view) shots that hit twine after varied and unusual trajectories. The reporter said that the young man had shown great composure after giving up those two Maple Leafs goals.

"No matter what happens you just have to keep going," said Rask. "You'll allow weak goals sometimes."

But there was nothing weak about Rask's performance on this storybook-like Tuesday in T.O. and his team, perhaps sensing "the moment" responded to his fine play, seized that moment and came back from a 2-0 deficit to earn a huge win in the third period.

"I really like the way the guys played," said Rask. "They showed such good effort there.

"And we got the goals we needed -- it was great."

Rask talked about the NHL shots he saw. He explained that one of the goals that went in wasn't necessarily faster or stronger.

"(The second goal) wasn't tipped -- it was a curve ball," said Tuukka, a little bit contemptuously. "And it was bouncing the whole time before the shot.

"He took it and I thought it was going to go by the goal, but it (ended up) top shelf."

Rask, who had started to sound a little anxious to play this week, after wearing an outstanding poker face over the first few weeks of the current campaign, had that face back on as he was pumped for reaction to beating his former rights holder.

"Of course, it means a lot (to win in Toronto). It was fun to play and show them that I am good enough to play at this level."

Then he was asked about his (seemingly) inevitable journeys back and forth to Providence and would he be disappointed when he returned to the AHL. Perhaps with his last American League loss in mind (a 3-2 setback on Sunday) Rask was steadfast.

"I can't say I will be disappointed," said Rask with a philosophical undertone that belied his 20-years. "No matter where I play, I just have to keep working hard."




1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


P. Bergeron 81 23 32 2 55
L. Eriksson 81 22 25 1 47
M. Lucic 81 18 26 13 44
C. Soderberg 82 13 31 10 44
B. Marchand 77 24 18 5 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
R. Smith 81 13 27 7 40
T. Krug 78 12 27 13 39
D. Krejci 47 7 24 7 31
C. Kelly 80 7 21 6 28
T. Rask 34 21 13 .922 2.30
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
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