BOSTON – Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask stopped 35 shots for his first NHL shutuout in his fourth start and Marc Savard scored to give Boston a 1-0 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday.
Rask was playing in his first NHL game since Dec. 6, 2007, because of an injury to Manny Fernandez had forced Tim Thomas to play the previous eight games. In recording his first win since Nov. 26, 2007, Rask raised his NHL record to 3-1-1 and lifted the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins to 7-1-2 over their last 10 games.
Savard deflected a slap shot by defenceman Dennis Wideman out of midair and into the net with 22.2 seconds left in the second period. Rask then stood up under the pressure, making 15 stops in the third period.
Regarded as the Bruins goalie of the future, Rask is 19-15-0 with a 2.46 goals-against average and .918 save percentage for the Bruins’ American Hockey League affiliate in Providence. He had dressed as a backup for Thomas, but got the start Saturday because the Bruins have a Sunday game in Montreal.
Rask made several good saves, but really wasn’t called on to be spectacular until the final period. The Rangers, losing their second straight game, put pressure on, but Rask was sharp in the third period – and got help.
Wideman deflected Nikolai Cherdev’s shot as the Rangers sent a rebound toward an open net from the side of the crease. New York’s Michal Rozsival then hit the crossbar with just under five minutes left.
Neither Rask nor Henrik Lundqvist was seriously tested more than occasionally through almost all of the first two periods, when what looked like a harmless play turned into a Boston goal.
Nigel Dawes, taking a hit from Milan Lucic, failed to get the puck out of the zone as it came around the right boards and Wideman let a slap shot go from the right point. Savard deflected it down and into the net to extend his points streak to seven straight games.
Lundqvist complained the shot was knocked down with a high stick, but the call on the ice of a goal stood up after review.
Notes: The win raised Boston to 6-0-3 against the Atlantic Division, 29-5-5 against the Eastern Conference. … Defenceman Erik Reitz, acquired by the Rangers from Minnesota Thursday for Dan Fritsche, skated with his new team early Saturday morning but did not dress. … Fernandez, who hasn’t played since Jan. 8 because of back trouble, skated Saturday morning but there was no word on when he might return. … Before Saturday, four of the last six games between the two Original Six teams went to shootouts, each winning two. Last year, they split a pair of 1-0 shootout wins.