On Wednesday, Claude Julien acknowledged the struggles affecting netminder Tuukka Rask.
“Right now [Rask] feels great. He doesn’t feel tired,” Julien said, per the Boston Herald. “He just doesn’t feel his game is where it should be. We all agree on that.”
Rask, in the first of an eight-year, $56 million deal, has fallen on hard times lately. He’s gone 2-7-0 since shutting out Ottawa on Dec. 27, getting hooked twice — once in a 4-3 loss to the Sens, and again in a 4-2 loss to L.A.
While he has posted some good efforts over this stretch — including a 36-save win over Winnipeg and a 26-save shutout over San Jose — Rask has been inconsistent. He’s struggled to follow up one good performance with a second solid outing, and has a .898 save percentage in January.
That said, Julien wasn’t prepared to pin all of Boston’s latest issues on Rask.
“You’ve seen a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes from our end — mismanaging the puck and turnovers and our penalty kill running around and giving guys good opportunities,” he explained. “There’s lot of blame to go around.”
Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.
Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.
From the league:
At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.
The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.
As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.
Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.
The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.
Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.