No one likes a sore loser.
Bruins’ veteran Tuukka Rask made some odd remarks following Boston’s 3-2 Game 2 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night, when he wrote off the Stanley Cup Playoffs as nothing more than “exhibition” games without the presence of fans.
“To be honest with you, it doesn’t really feel like playoff hockey out there. There are no fans, so it’s kind of like playing an exhibition game,” Rask said, according to NBC Sports’ Boston affiliate. “It’s definitely not a playoff atmosphere out there. You try and play as hard as you can. When you’re playing at a home rink and an away rink and the fans are cheering for and against you, it really creates a buzz for the series.”
He continued: “There’s none of that. So it just feels like dull at times. There are moments when there are scrums and whatnot, and then there will be five minutes when it’s coast-to-coast hockey. There’s no atmosphere. So it feels like an exhibition game. We’re trying our best to ramp and get energized, and make it feel like it’s a playoff game.”
But Rask isn’t the first member of his team to dismiss the Bruins’ playoff performance.
The Bruins, who were the top team in the league with 100 points going into the playoffs, shockingly struggled in the round-robin games. They went 0-3 and landed the No. 4 seed. To make matters worse, they were outscored 9-4 and were 0-9 in their power play.
“I mean, let’s call it what it is: They’re exhibition games for the playoffs,” forward Brad Marchand said prior to the start of the 'Canes series. “It’s hard to have the same mentality as a playoff series. So we’re not going to base our performance — what it’s going be against Carolina — on that.”
Even Rask wasn’t willing to accept Boston's round-robin results as anything more than practice.
“These first round-robin games or whatever they are, you’re just trying to shake the rust off and get your team game in a place you want it to be,” he said at the time.
The Bruins did come out strong, winning Game 1 in double-overtime but the Canes quickly tied up the series Thursday night with Dougie Hamilton’s third-period game-winning goal.
David Krejci and Marchand scored for Boston, and Rask made 23 saves. The Bruins, who swept Carolina in the Eastern Conference finals last season, pulled the goalie for an extra attacker but couldn’t convert.
Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.