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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Say hello to the Tuukka Rask of 2009-10


With the way the Boston Bruins were playing last night and recently (riding a season-high four-game losing streak), it was going to take something drastic to turn things around.

If you guessed that a vintage performance from Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and a shootout goal by Tyler Seguin (who has been in mothballs for the last few months) would be the difference, well I don't know what to say because you're clearly insane.

The Bruins (39-21-9) beat the Columbus Blue Jackets (32-27-10) 3-2 in a shootout at the Nationwide Arena in a game that they really didn't deserve to win.

That doesn't matter though, with the Washington Capitals riding a nine-game winning streak and the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins staying above water, the Bs were in desperation mode since they don't want to find themselves slipping in the muddled Eastern Conference playoff picture. We need that home ice son!

Rask (34 saves; 10-12-1) looked like the stud that came out of nowhere last season and carried the team until they predictably fell apart in the playoffs (albeit in the most unpredictable way possible). He had a bunch of highlight reel saves last night which is why it was his top performance of this season given the stakes and Boston's recent struggles.

Grant Clitsome, my favorite ex-porn star, gave Columbus a 1-0 lead with a goal at 19:07 of the first period from Jacub Voracek and Rick Nash.

David Krejci tied it (his 11th of the season) at 12:20 of the second period by tipping Zdeno Chara's shot from the point. It was nice to see the delicate Czech park himself in front of Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason (27 saves). Johnny Boychuk also assisted on the goal.

Columbus made it 2-1 at 12:19 of the third period when Scottie Upshall took advantage of Rask being out of position. All Upshall had to do was tap it in after Rask came out too far to cut down an earlier shooting angle.

Adding to the bizarre nature of this contest and the Bruins in general, none other than Rich Peverley played hero with the tying goal while Boston was short-handed no less. It was a great individual effort as Peverley used his speed to get around Columbus' defense and tuck it past Mason with a nice move. Peverley's 16th of the season came at 14:24.

For once, a Claude Julien coaching move worked wonders in the shootout. He chose to sit Michael Ryder (for the first time in his Bruins career) and as it turned out, Seguin took his place and scored the only goal in the shootout. It was that kind of night.

Boston has two more games on the road (at Nashville tomorrow night and then at Toronto on Saturday night). With only 13 games left in the regular season, points are at a premium for the Black and Gold.

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