The Toronto Maple Leafs avoided elimination on Saturday night when they managed to hold on and win Game 5 by the final score of 4-3 over the Boston Bruins. While Leafs head coach Mike Babcock wasn't afraid to point out the bad performances of his star players following Game 4 on Thursday night, it was time for the Bruins to look at themselves in the mirror and take the blame for their loss. One player did not hesitate to put it all on his shoulders...
"Probably could have stopped more pucks with my eyes closed. That's about it," Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said after the contest, per NHL.com. "It's on me."
The other man in between the pipes for the Maple Leafs, Frederik Andersen, had a tremendous night. The Great Dane made 42 saves in Toronto’s 4-3 victory and allowed his team to live another day and get ready for Game 6 on Monday.
“Freddie was great, gave us a chance and made some huge saves for us,” commented his forward Nazem Kadri to the Toronto Sun after the game.
In total, the Leafs had 21 shots on goal and 39 shot attempts; the Bruins had 45 shots on goal and 90 shot attempts. Rask was pulled out of the game in the second period after forward James van Riemsdyk had just scored a power-play goal to give the Maple Leafs a three-goal lead. The star player faced 13 shots, but he allowed four goals.
"Sometimes you track pucks better than the other days," Rask said. "Today, as you probably could tell, I wasn't tracking the puck very well. It happens sometimes. Too bad it happened today."
"I didn't have too many shots out there," Rask added. "But just one of those, you're fighting it. Those first two goals were nothing to do with tracking, but it's just, never got into the game, really, and couldn't make those stops that I should have made to keep the game tight, especially that third goal. We scored. We had the momentum going, and then they get a chance, and I couldn't stop the puck."
The rest of the Boston crew refuses to see Rask take all the blame for the loss. Defenseman Charlie McAvoy noted after the contest that the entire team should have been there for their goaltender.
"Not a good effort from us," McAvoy said. "That's not indicative of how he played. A couple unfortunate goals. Some odd mans. … Definitely not his fault tonight. Whenever he gets pulled, we know that we didn't do our job.
"He's got our backs, and we've got his."
Let's wait and see if Rask will bounce back on Monday for pivotal Game 6.