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On Rask besting Price, and their brewing rivalry

May 9, 2014, 12:29 AM EDT

Game 4 was Tuukka Rask‘s best of this series, but he set the tone for it after Game 1.

Following Carey Price‘s 48-save OT thriller — 12 saves shy of Patrick Roy’s franchise-record 60 in the ’94 playoffs — Rask laid down the gauntlet, so to speak, with this:

Rask wasn’t the best goalie on the ice that night, but he was hardly, y’know [rhymes with hit]. He allowed four goals on 33 shots, two of which came on the power play, and certainly couldn’t be blamed for the loss.

Thing was, Rask knew Price won the game for Montreal — in Boston, no less — and it ate at him. So on Thursday, the Finnish netminder decided to flip the script.

“We really needed this win. We knew that,” he said, per CSNNE. “It seemed like we were a little nervous and were squeezing our sticks at times, so hopefully this win helps us.

“I always just try to play my game, and hopefully it’s good enough to get the win. Tonight I was able to get the shutout.”

Rask became the first Bruins goalie to record a postseason shutout against the Habs in 10 years and, fittingly, did it at the Bell Center. It was his signature win of the series and the first time he’s posted a save percentage above .893; in the aftermath, it was suddenly the Canadiens talking about how they needed to make Rask’s life tougher, after days of listening to how the Bruins needed more traffic in front of Price.

“We’ve got to try to make life a little bit more difficult on Rask in front of the (Bruins) net,” Josh Gorges said, per the Montreal Gazette.

Earlier, I wrote this series could be a jumping off point for the Rask-Price rivalry, and it’s certainly shaping up that way. The two are reasonably close in age (Rask’s 27, Price is 26) and while Rask bested Price this season for the first-ever Vezina nomination between the two, it was Price that one-upped Rask at the Olympics, backstopping Canada to gold (while beating bronze medal-winning Finns along the way.)

And the best part? This series is nowhere close to being done. Boston and Montreal will definitely go to at least Game 6 and, given the razor-thin margin between the two (cumulative score of 11-10 in favor of Montreal, two games decided in OT), it’s fair to suggest Game 7 is in the cards.

For what’s arguably the best goaltending rivalry in the NHL right now, here’s hoping it goes the distance.

  1. mrhogan88 - May 9, 2014 at 2:09 AM

    As a Habs fan, tonight hurt. However, this series is everything I hoped it would be. It may be early to say, but I believe whichever team wins this series is the Eastern Conference champ.

    • the8man - May 9, 2014 at 6:15 AM

      Gonna agree. Two talented and dangerous clubs. Tied in games, goals scored and OT wins. Both keepers equally effective. Nothing separating these squads right now. It is what everyone thought it would be, a helluva series. One lone goal in a game 7 OT may determine the series winner.

      Wow!

    • pastabelly - May 9, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      I always thought getting by Montreal would be tougher than getting by Pittsburgh. Price is better than Fleury and Subban and the Montreal speed always scares me a Bs fan. Great rivalry, great series.

    • titansbro - May 9, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      I think most Bruins fans would agree.

  2. terrier92 - May 9, 2014 at 5:00 AM

    That was a great game. Good hard nosed, competitive hockey without a lot of shenanigans. Tough loss if you are a Habs fan yet great win if Bruins fan. Best rivalry in sports.

  3. mellard1121 - May 9, 2014 at 6:51 AM

    Never really liked or knew much about price as a bs fan and thought any goalie could have won a medal with canada but boy was I wrong , he’s a beast and this series is gonna go 7 and be decided on a heartbreaking goal like in 2011 , I just hope its the habs that are heart broken but it def could go either way

  4. titansbro - May 9, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    I’m not sure I’d say Price bested Rask at the Olympics. The talent level of the Finnish team is not even comparable to the talent level of Team Canada. That’s not to say that Price was bad or anything (he was good), but facing team Canada is a much different animal than facing team Finland. However, Price was awesome against team USA, the 2nd best team in the tourney.

  5. theskinsman - May 9, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Glad Rask rose to the moment. This series has been far too close for a goalie to have a bad night.

  6. gallyhatch - May 9, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    This series is taking years off of my life, but that’s typical for when these two teams meet.

    I feel like tomorrow is a must win for the Bruins. . . . could they beat Montreal twice in a row if they lose game 5? Sure, anything is possible, I just don’t think it’s likely. I originally predicted Bruins in 6, but it feels like this one is going 7.

    What a freaking series. .

  7. ignikcuflovehockey - May 9, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Tuukka didn’t actually play in the game vs Sweden. So he didn’t get the chance to play for gold against Price.

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