Bruins rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask beats Maple Leafs once again

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TORONTO - Tuukka Rask did it to the Maple Leafs once again.

For the fourth time in five career starts against Toronto, the rookie Boston Bruins goaltender beat the team that traded him in the summer of 2006 for netminder Andrew Raycroft, 2-1 on Saturday.

But Rask - who was originally drafted 21st overall by Toronto in 2005 ­-wasn't about to rub it in.

"It's just another game," said the 23-year-old Finnish native, who has allowed just nine goals against the Maple Leafs. "Toronto drafted me, but I never played here so it's not a big deal to me."

Rask stopped 27-of-28 shots, leading the Bruins to a much-needed victory as Boston clings to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Rask didn't allow a goal after Leafs bruiser Colton Orr opened the scoring at 5:10 of the first period.

"We started out real sloppy and it took us a while to find our legs," said Rask, who improved his record to 20-12-4 to go with a sub-2.00 goals-against average and a save percentage that's hovering around .930.

"Everybody knew he was going to be a good goaltender," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "Give our franchise credit . . . We didn't rush him, we took our time with him. We've had the luxury of having Tim Thomas, so we were able to send Rask to the AHL for a couple of seasons and work him in slowly. He's been better as the season has gone on.

"He's been playing really well for us and he gives our team a lot of confidence."

In fact, Rask has pushed Thomas, last season's Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goalie, to the bench. The Finnish stopper has started three consecutive games at a crucial juncture in the schedule, and has rewarded the Bruins' faith in him by allowing just two goals on 72 shots against.

Thomas, meanwhile, has struggled this season after last year's breakout performance - his record is 16-18-8 compared to 36-11-7 in 2008-09.

"We don't really feel like we have a set No. 1 and No. 2 goalie, we're just taking it at a game-by-game basis," said Rask, who has an outside chance at being one of the three nominees for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best rookie.

"I just try to play the same way every night, and keep the scoreboard as low as I can."



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