BOSTON -- Rookie goalie Tuukka Rask has been the difference for Boston, which now holds a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against Buffalo after Monday night’s 2-1 win at TD Garden.
Rask was brilliant throughout the game, making 32 saves, including 12 in a third period that was dominated by Buffalo for long stretches of time. He has allowed just five goals in his first nine periods of playoff hockey and seems to be frustrating some of the Buffalo shooters.
Monday night, Rask talked about his home playoff debut, the energy from the fans, his own play and what he saw on the winning goal, where Mark Recchi knocked Tim Kennedy off the puck on a forecheck and made a perfect feed to Patrice Bergeron for a one-timer.
Q: Talk about the crowd tonight in your first playoff game at home.
Rask: It was great. Really loud, and I think we fed off that crowd and we had a lot of energy throughout the game, and it showed on the scoreboard.
Q: How important was it that you got out fast in the first period?
Rask: That’s what we wanted to do at home, for sure. The last two games, on the road, we have struggled a little in the first period. But today, we got it going right away.
Q: That was a wild last couple of minutes there around your crease, wasn’t it?
Rask: Yeah. That’s something you expect, obviously. But guys did a good job of keeping it out of the net for me.
Q: Talk about the play of Vladimir Sobotka.
Rask: That’s what you need in the playoffs, different guys to step up and he has been one of those guys. Their line has been terrific for us.
Q: You had a good view of the winning goal. What about the play Recchi made there?
Rask: He just won the battle, and he saw Bergy coming full speed and made a great play there, and Bergy doesn’t usually miss those. He likes to bury the puck, and he really hit it hard and got it through.
Q: How about the fans really getting behind you in this game?
Rask: It’s good. Sometimes when you deserve it and they do that, it’s great.