For as tumultuous as Boston’s start has been, the team has played reasonably well of late and secured 10 of a possible 14 points.
All of which came as news to Tuukka Rask.
“We won five out of seven? Oh yeah?” Rask said, per the Boston Herald. “It doesn’t feel like it. It feels like we have been losing and winning.
“But you know it’s better, it’s good, the right way.”
The B’s started the year 2-4-0 and things hit their lowest on Oct. 16, when Rask was hooked after allowing five goals on 23 shots in an eventual 6-4 loss to Montreal. Losing to their heated rival after last year’s playoff ouster was one thing, but Boston looked downright rattled — and nobody embodied that frustration more than Milan Lucic, who received a misconduct penalty at the end of regulation and was later fined $5K for making an obscene gesture towards Montreal fans.
Since then, though, things have improved.
Lucic has been better, scoring six points in his last six games, but the real story has been the less-heralded individuals that’ve stepped in and provided quality efforts.
In Saturday’s 4-2 win over Ottawa, Matt Fraser was a late insertion for the injured David Krejci and stole the show, scoring a pair of goals while finishing as the game’s first star. Rookie Seth Griffith has five points in his last six games, and first-year backup Niklas Svedberg has a 1.66 GAA and .940 save percentage.
Much credit here is due to head coach Claude Julien, who has done well in keeping the team afloat despite a depleted blueline (Zdeno Cara, Torey Krug and Kevan Miller all out with injures) and the departures of Johnny Boychuk and Jarome Iginla.
It makes sense, then, that Boston rewarded Julien with a three-year contract extension this weekend, with one of the club’s veteran presences — Dennis Seidenberg — shedding light on how Julien has gotten his new, inexperienced players to perform at a quality level.
“He’s proven in the past that he knows how to coach,” Seidenberg said, per the Herald. “He knows how to teach a young team to play a system.
“I really enjoy playing for him and I think all the guys in here do.”