A new season yielded new results for the Boston Bruins – who snapped an 0-8 showing in shootouts since February 2019 en route to a 3-2 victory over the Devils in their season on Thursday night.
And yet, even with the clean slate that comes when the calendar flips to a new season, some things apparently never change.
In particular, Tuukka Rask and the target that appears to be painted on his mask whenever an opposing skater barrels into the B's crease.
While Rask stood tall down the stretch for Boston during Thursday's victory, the veteran netminder also spent a fair of share of the contest down on the ice at Prudential Center, with both Yegor Sharangovich and Miles Wood welcoming Rask into 2021 by colliding with him on rushes to the net.
Wood's repeated incursions into the blue paint ultimately proved costly for the Devils, with the pair of interference calls against the Devils winger ultimately leading to power-play tallies from both Brad Marchand and Nick Ritchie.
However, even with the two points secured on the Thursday, both Rask and the Bruins are not too keen on burying goals on the man advantage at the expense of their franchise netminder getting put on the ropes with every opposing rush into Boston's zone.
"I hope not," Rask said Thursday on if New Jersey was purposefully trying to get under his skin. "Because we're gonna play them seven more times. It was game one, so I don't know. Seems to be Wood every single time. But I mean, I think he does that every game anyways, because he's so fast. I don't know — you gotta ask them. I doubt it. But not a fan, obviously."
Rask getting trucked in between the pipes has unfortunately been a regular occurrence over the years, whether it be collateral damage that has come from his own teammates trying to snuff out Grade-A looks in the crease or the likes of Emil Bemstrom catching Rask with an elbow last January — forcing him from that contest against Columbus.
Boston deservedly caught plenty of flak for not landing some welts against Bemstrom and the Blue Jackets after that matchup last season, and it seems as though Bruce Cassidy is cognizant of not letting a similar narrative play out this season — especially given the fact that Wood and the Devils will meet Boston again on Saturday afternoon.