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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Rask wins season debut for Bruins against Flyers

BOSTON — Tuukka Rask won his season debut with the Boston Bruins, 3-2 against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden on Thursday.

“It was [emotional],” Rask said. “It was very much out of the normal, the way I was feeling before the game. It’s been many months since my last game. … It was great to see the fan support. The best fans. … It felt like I was at home, basically.”

David Pastrnak scored a hat trick, and Charlie McAvoy and Brad Marchand each had two assists for Boston (21-11-2), which has won four straight.

Rask made 25 saves in his first game since June 9.

“[He] looked like old Tuukka,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Good for him. Glad to see him come through. I think the guys played hard for him. … In the second period, we got a little casual. … There are a couple things we need to clean up. There usually is, but we were able to get through it.”

Video: PHI@BOS: Pastrnak’s three goals lead Bruins to win

Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist, Keith Yandle had two assists, and Carter Hart made 33 saves for Philadelphia (13-16-7), which has lost six in a row (0-4-2).

“You’ve got to make sure you win your battles and bring your work ethic right off the top,” Flyers coach Mike Yeo said. “Every shift through the course of the game, there’s moments where you have to treat it like it’s the difference in the hockey game, whether it’s the first, second, or third period. We haven’t been seeming to grasp that.”

Pastrnak gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead 1:51 into the first period on the first shot of the game, scoring from the high slot on a tic-tac-toe play with Erik Haula and Taylor Hall. He scored his second of the game at 5:27 on the power play to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. 

Atkinson made it 2-1 at 8:02 of the second period on the power play, redirecting Ivan Provorov‘s wrist shot from the top of the right circle.

Joel Farabee tied it 2-2 at 15:00 on a 2-on-1 with Atkinson.

“We haven’t played [since a 3-2 overtime loss against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday], coming off COVID protocol, but obviously no excuses,” Atkinson said. “We knew that they’ve played a lot of hockey as of late, and we did the exact opposite of what our game plan told us to do. We got back to it in the second and third period.”

Video: PHI@BOS: Farabee beats Rask for equalizer

Pastrnak completed the hat trick with a one-timer on a 5-on-3 power play at 16:45 to make it 3-2, and Rask saved all 12 shots he faced in the third period.

“Talking to him after, there were no issues with the (hip) surgery,” Cassidy said. “A little sore in spots, but I think that’s just from not playing in a while. He said his conditioning was pretty good.”

Rask signed a one-year contract with an NHL salary cap charge of $1 million on Tuesday. He had not played since Game 6 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Islanders and had surgery in July to repair a torn labrum.

“Even though it wasn’t killing me every game last year, it’s always in the back of my head that certain movements were limited,” Rask said. “It’s great to feel that I have the ability to move both ways.”

NOTES: Rask is 8-3-0 in his season debuts. Only Marc-Andre Fleury (10-6-0) has more wins in season debuts among active goalies. … Flyers forward Claude Giroux had three shots in 20:25 of ice time after missing three games in NHL COVID-19 protocol. … Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol prior to the game. He scored six points (one goal, five assists) in the previous two games. … Pastrnak has 11 regular-season hat tricks, three against Philadelphia (Feb. 3 and Feb. 21, 2021). … Marchand and Pastrnak became the fifth Bruins teammates to each score a hat trick on consecutive days, joining Peter McNab and Barry Pederson (April 3-4, 1982), Wayne Carleton and Phil Esposito (April 3-4, 1971), Bobby Orr and Esposito (Dec. 14-15, 1968), and Bill Cowley and Herb Cain (March 4-5, 1944).

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