Extra Beats: Tuukka Rask Steals Game 4; Bruins Beat Leafs 3-1

Bruins will look to close out the series this Saturday at TD Gaden

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With star center and Selke Trophy finalist Patrice Bergeron a last minute scratch prior to pre-game warmup’s at the Air Canada Centre, the Bruins were going to need someone to step up again and collectively rise to the occasion. Well, goalie Tuukka Rask did just that, making 31 saves – many on Maple Leafs odd-man rushes – and his team escaped Toronto with a 3-1 win in Game 4 and a 3-1 series lead. The series now shifts to Boston for Game 5, where the Bruins will have a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

While the Bruins were clearly outplayed and likely would be going back to Boston knotted at two in the series if not for Rask, their other star players stepped up when needed. Brad Marchand scored the eventual game-winner off a beautiful pass from David Pastrnak 16:55 into the second period and David Krejci fed Jake DeBrusk tape-to-tape to make it 3-1 Bruins 4:17 into the third period. Torey Krug had the Bruins first goal 28 ticks into the game. Tomas Plekanec had the lone Toronto goal.

1.) No Truth To Rumor Rask Was Arrested For Grand Larceny

A team source has confirmed that there were no Toronto Police or RCMP officers waiting for Rask after he basically committed grand larceny at the Air Canada Centre Thursday night. Rask had 31 saves but it was the type of saves and the timing that made his performance so impressive.

Rask stopped Patrick Marleau on a one timer 6:30 into the game that preserved the Bruins 1-0 lead.

And he stoned Mitch Marner on a breakaway midway through the second that kept the game tied at 1.

There were plenty more like that and every time the Leafs gained anytime of momentum and were buzzing, just as he has most of this series, he shut them down. Maybe it was harder to see in the first two games of the series with the Bruins winning each game by four goals, but in the last two games, Rask has clearly kept his team in the game and given them a chance to win. The difference between Games 3 and 4, his teammates took the opportunity Rask provided them and ran with it.

2.) Bruins Stars Shined Again When Their Needed Them Most

With Bergeron out for Game 4, Krejci, Marchand and Pastrnak were going to need to step up and carry their teammates and that’s just what they did. While Krejci and Marchand struggled a bit to get going, they finally caught up to Pastrnak who was flying from the get go. Pastrnak assisted on Krug’s early goal and then set up Marchand for the eventual game winner.

Meanwhile, playoff Krejci showed up just in time to seal the deal for the Bruins with a pass not many but him could make on DeBrusk’s goal to make it 3-1.

4.) DeBrusk Gets Rewarded For Hard Work

DeBrusk was a human wrecking ball from his first shift until his last in Game 4. The rookie forward who now has two goals and a helper after lighting the lamp again Thursday. His offense wasn’t the only thing on display though as DeBrusk finished with seven hits and digging down deep in the dirty areas all night. His hitting was contagious as the Bruins finished with 40 in the game.

5.) Krug Answers The Bell

After a rough outing in Game 3, when he finished a minus-3, on the ice for three of the Leafs’ four goals, Krug once again answered the bell, finishing even and scoring his first goal of the series. Krug now has a goal and four assists in the series and has been a key part of the Bruins 3-1 series lead.

In my most recent feature, Krug told me that he has been highly motivated by the naysayers that say he is one dimensional and can’t play defense.

“People just assumed I was a power play specialist who could only produce offense and play against other teams fourth lines,” Krug recalled. “I’ve worked really hard though over the years to become that top four guy that plays 200 feet and now I’m being trusted to play against other teams’ top lines. It’s been a long journey but I still have a couple checkmarks to go.”

After a rough outing in Game 3 he proved them wrong again in Game 4.

6.) With Bergeron Out; Riley Nash Moves Up And Tommy Wingels Draws In

With Bergeron’s sudden absence from the lineup, head coach Bruce Cassidy had to do some lineup shuffling on the fly. Cassidy decided to go with Wingels instead of Ryan Donato and then moved Riley Nash back up onto the top line between Pastrnak and Marchand, where he’d been during Bergeron’s last stint out with an injury. Here’s what the lineup looked like:

Forwards

Marchand – Riley Nash – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Rick Nash

Heinen – Kuraly – Backes

Schaller – Acciari – Wingels

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Miller

Grzelcyk – McQuaid

Goalies

Rask

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