Rask stays in touch with predecessor Thomas

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm •  Published: June 16, 2013
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BOSTON (AP) — Just imagine what Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas chat about when the present and past Boston Bruins goalies, and friends, have time to talk.

Perhaps they discuss what it's like to stop shot after shot at the most important time of the season.

But Rask isn't saying.

"It's between him and me," he said Sunday.

In 2011, Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the NHL postseason when he posted a 16-9 record, 1.98 goals-against average and .940 save percentage. He led the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup title since 1972 in a seven-game series against the Vancouver Canucks.

Rask's numbers this year are even better — a 13-5 record, 1.73 GAA and .944 save percentage. And the Bruins are three wins away from another championship, tied 1-1 with the Chicago Blackhawks heading into Game 3 on Monday night.

The 39-year-old Thomas took this season off after the NHL lockout then was traded to the New York Islanders and has stayed away from the game. After three full seasons as his teammate, Rask inherited the job.

"Tim has been a great goaltender for us. When you lose a guy like that, there's always that fear that you're not going to be able to replace him," coach Claude Julien said Sunday. "Tuukka's done an outstanding job. To me, he's been as much of a contributor to our team as Tim was two years ago."

In the Eastern Conference finals, Rask allowed just only goals in four games as Boston swept the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the finals against Chicago, Rask has allowed five goals so far, but kept Game 2 close when he stopped 18 shots in the first period of the Bruins' 2-1 overtime win.

"I always feel like I'm in a zone," Rask said, "nothing different, just another game. My job is really easy, or really simple, not easy — to stop the puck."

___

THIRD TIME'S NOT A CHARM: The Chicago Blackhawks made it to the Stanley Cup finals without winning Game 3 of their other three series this postseason.

They get another chance, their last one, Monday night against the Boston Bruins after splitting the first two games.

"I think when you're at home the first two games, sometimes you get a little bit too comfortable," Chicago's Patrick Kane said. "Then you come on the road, maybe it's like a rude awakening when you come and play on the road. We've had three series to figure that out, learn it."

Chicago lost Game 3 in the first round 3-2 to Minnesota but won the best-of-seven series in five games. It lost to Detroit in Game 3 of the next series 3-1, then won the last three games to win it in seven. And it won its first two games at home against Los Angeles, lost the next one 3-1, and won the next two to take the series in five games.

"In L.A., maybe we were comfortable with the situation coming off two nice wins. I thought Detroit got our attention after Game 2. It was one of those games (that) could have gone either way," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "That's got to be our approach going into (Monday's) game, desperate, something to prove."

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