Rask ties Bruins record for wins in 5-2 victory over Blues
BOSTON (AP) — Tuukka Rask always tries to focus on the next win. This time, he made an exception.
The 31-year-old goaltender tied a Boston record with his 252nd career victory as the Bruins beat the St. Louis Blues 5-2 on Thursday night.
Rask made 28 saves and matched the franchise mark set by Cecil “Tiny” Thompson, who was 252-153 with 63 ties. Rask, the 2014 Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s top goalie, is 252-145-56 in 474 games over 12 seasons with Boston.
Thompson won his 252nd game in his 11th and final season with the Bruins in 1938-39. He died at age 77 in 1981, six years before Rask was born.
“It’s an Original Six franchise. I’ve had the luxury to be here for many, many years, so it obviously means a lot,” Rask said. “Many more to come, hopefully.”
Chris Wagner scored 5:27 into the third period to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead. Brad Marchand and Sean Kuraly added some insurance after earlier Boston goals from Torey Krug and David Backes.
“We got the go-ahead goal and after that we were flying and didn’t give them a whole lot,” said Rask, whose team had lost three of four (1-2-1) after a season-high five-game winning streak.
Ryan O’Reilly and Carl Gunnarsson had the goals for St. Louis. Jake Allen made 22 saves.
Blues left wing David Perron extended his NHL-leading and career-best point streak to 13 games (six goals, 10 assists) with a secondary assist on O’Reilly’s goal.
St. Louis had won four of six (4-1-1) and earned at least one point in each of its previous five road games. The Blues finished a 2-1-1 trip after starting it with back-to-back wins over Dallas and Washington.
“It’s a disappointing loss,” O’Reilly said. “We could have turned this into a great road trip and we didn’t.”
Wagner’s tiebreaking goal came after Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson’s pass from the opposite blue line put him a step in front of Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo. Wagner deked to put Allen off balance before tucking the puck under his glove.
“He kind of just chipped it to me, I tried to knock it around Pietrangelo and fortunately got by him and made a nice move and just tucked it in,” Wagner said.
Marchand ripped in a rebound after Charlie McAvoy’s wraparound attempt bounced off Allen’s pads to make it 4-2 with 6:48 remaining.
Kuraly tacked on an empty-net goal with 51.5 seconds left.
″(We) still had a chance in the third there,” Pietrangelo said. “I can’t let that guy get behind me on the breakaway.”
Krug’s uncontested wrister from the slot gave Boston a 1-0 lead 3:31 into the second period.
St. Louis tied it 53 seconds later when O’Reilly tucked in his own rebound from the right of the crease after Rask got a glove on his first attempt.
Gunnarsson gave the Blues a 2-1 lead when he capped a give-and-go with Jaden Schwartz with a one-timer from the left circle with 6:24 to play in the second.
Backes, a former Blues captain, got a piece of Zdeno Chara’s slap shot to tie it again with four minutes left in the period. Backes’ goal came with four seconds left on a Bruins power play following Robert Bortuzzo’s cross-checking penalty.
NOTES: Gunnarsson missed the previous three games with an illness. ... St. Louis LW Zach Sanford (concussion protocol) did not play after being slammed into the boards during Tuesday’s game against the New York Islanders. ... Boston C Ryan Donato received several stitches to close a cut under his nose after taking a hit from Philadelphia center Jordan Lehtera on Wednesday. ... Bruins C Joakim Nordstrom (fractured fibula) had a maintenance day after skating Wednesday and could return after the bye week. ... Backes, who returned after sitting out Wednesday as a healthy scratch, spent his first 10 NHL seasons (2006-16) with St. Louis. The 34-year-old Backes ranks sixth on the Blues’ career goals list (206) and seventh in points (460). ... The Bruins held “Hockey Is For Everyone Night,” celebrating diversity throughout the sport.
Blues: Host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
Bruins: Host the New York Rangers on Saturday night.