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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 - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
2 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
3 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
4 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
5 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
6 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
7 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
8 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


P. Bergeron 80 32 36 12 68
L. Eriksson 82 30 33 13 63
D. Krejci 72 17 46 4 63
B. Marchand 77 37 24 21 61
R. Spooner 80 13 36 -9 49
T. Krug 81 4 40 9 44
M. Beleskey 80 15 22 6 37
Z. Chara 80 9 28 12 37
J. Hayes 75 13 16 -12 29
D. Pastrnak 51 15 11 3 26
T. Rask 31 22 8 .915 2.56
J. Gustavsson 11 9 1 .908 2.72
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