Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 4/26/13
BOSTON — When the Bruins went on their Stanley Cup run back in the spring of 2011, they didn’t enter the postseason riding a wave of momentum going 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. The power play was virtually nonexistent and in the bigger picture, no one would have labeled their offense high-octane. The Bruins were even pushed to the brink by the Canadiens in the first round before coming back to win the series. The reasons for that are bountiful, but the biggest, anyone will admit, was the play of  goaltender Tim Thomas. It was a glaring example of how a hot goaltender can make all the difference when the chips are down at the NHL’s final table. And while Tuukka Rask hasn’t had the historical season Thomas had in 2010-11, the current Bruins starter has been really, really good this season. That level of play was taken to a different level on Thursday night, though. Rask turned aside all 30 Tampa Bay Lightning shots he saw in his league-leading fifth shutout Thursday night. In the process, he turned in a handful of breath-taking saves that had the TD Garden crowd chanting his name on more than one occasion. In addition to preserving a much-needed win, the dominant performance should also serve as a reminder as to what Rask can do when he’s on top of his game. If the Bruins get this Rask in the playoffs, it might go long ways in erasing all of the doubts that have crept in about this team in the past few weeks. Rask was indifferent, however, when asked whether or not he feels a performance like the one he gave Thursday can help him gain momentum heading into the postseason. “I don’t know,” Rask said after his second shutout in as many starts.”I guess you always try to take the positives no matter how it goes, but the playoffs is a different season. Everybody knows that. I just try to feel comfortable out there and play the game one at a time.” Rask knows as well as anyone that the playoffs are a different time. The netminder was one of the NHL’s best back in 2009-10 when he stepped in for Thomas. Rask led the league in save percentage and goals against average that season after appearing in 45 games. The playoffs, though, were a different story. Rask gave up 36 goals in 13 games, with 22 of those coming in the Philadelphia series. That, of course, was the series that Rask and the B’s not only coughed up a 3-0 series lead, but a 3-0 lead in Game 7. Rask gave up 15 goals in those four losses. He at least sounds ready for the playoffs, which will be his first chance to put that postseason behind him after sitting behind Thomas on the club’s magical run to the Cup in 2011. It’s a given that Rask knows what to expect next week when the playoffs kick off, and he feels he knows what he has to do to find success in the playoffs. “Everybody crashes the net a lot harder,” he said. “Every goal counts. Every win counts. It’s sometimes a really big scramble in front of the net. The battle level and the intensity level, I think it’s a bit higher. And for me, I think the biggest thing is fight for those loose pucks and take care of those.” With all of the issues, and the ups and downs the Bruins have had this season, Rask has remained the most impressive Bruins player. The B’s will surely take him bringing his game to another level as they enter the playoffs. “It’s important for him, obviously, and what we’ve been through, I think a lot of players right now, you still see certain guys fighting the puck a little bit, but at the end of the day, our goaltender plays a big role in your success,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who has been one of Rask’s toughest critics, at times this year, said. “A game like tonight, if we don’t have good goaltending, the minute you get a breakdown the puck could be in the back of your net. You need a guy to stand tall and be good and you need a guy to go into the playoffs with confidence, hopefully that’s what Tuukka’s creating here.” If that is the case, the Bruins know better than anyone that their goaltender’s play could set the stage for a long postseason run.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message

Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Sacramento Kings seriously considering firing George Karl

Rick Pitino says school should be penalized, 'but not this team'

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban defends hack-a-player strategy

Jameis Winston awarded Pepsi NFL rookie of the Year

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

$40,000 in Super Bowl tickets stolen from San Francisco hotel

Rams fan makes Super Bowl commercial ripping Stan Kroenke

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker