Rask up to the task in Boston

Making his first NHL start of the season, Tuukka Rask stopped all 35 shots he faced on Saturday afternoon to lead the Boston Bruins to a 1-0 win over the visiting New York Rangers at the TD Banknorth Garden.

It was the first career NHL shutout for Rask, who was recalled last weekend from Providence where he is 19-15-0 with a 2.46 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 34 appearances this season.

Marc Savard, like Rask a former AHL All-Star, scored the game’s only goal with 22.2 seconds remaining in the second period.

The 21-year-old Rask is in his second professional season after being selected in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. As a rookie, he helped Providence earn the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy for having the best record in the AHL in 2007-08, going 27-13-2 in 45 outings. Rask was also 2-1-1 in four NHL appearances with Boston last year.

Saturday marked Rask’s first NHL game since Dec. 6, 2007, and his first NHL win since Nov. 26, 2007.

Also on Saturday, Ville Leino made his NHL debut and scored a goal in Detroit’s 4-2 loss at Washington.

Leino has recorded 11 goals and 26 assists for 37 points in 44 games for Grand Rapids this season, his first in North America. The 25-year-old native of Finland leads the Griffins in assists and is second on the club in points.