BOSTON — On the list of concerns with this Boston Bruins team, goaltending just might be at the bottom. All you had to do was watch how difficult it was for the thoroughly superior Bruins to grind out an angst-ridden 2-1 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars on Monday night to know that the top three issues facing this team are scoring, scoring and scoring.

But grumbles and groans emanating from the TD Garden crowd were justified when a $7 million goalie – who is supposed to be locked in as a No. 1 starter – is struggling like Tuukka Rask has been for the second autumn in a row. Especially when he allowed a weak shorthanded goal to the Stars’ Radek Faksa just 3:51 into the game.

It was a softy similar to the one he allowed against the Montreal Canadiens in his previous start a week and half ago, which pretty much guaranteed surging “backup” Jaroslav Halak would get the next couple of starts.

But that’s where the similarities end. In that game against Montreal, the Bruins allowed the next goal and were never really in it. On Monday, Rask’s teammates picked him up right away with a David Pastrnak power-play goal to tie the game. And though it took a while for him to see more action, Rask contributed with a few big saves down the stretch to record the victory.

Rask has won a Vezina Trophy. He has played in the Stanley Cup finals. But even the best players can have a crisis of confidence, even in November. That might be an overly dramatic description of Rask’s mindset, but make no mistake, a loss Monday night would not have been helpful, especially given how hard his teammates worked.

“He needs wins. He’s a goalie. That’s what he gets judged on,” Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy said. “The first goal is an outside shot from a bad angle. I don’t know if Torey (Krug) redirected it, but good for the guys to pick him up on the power play. We win as a team and we lose as a team. We’ve always felt that. And after that, he settled in. He played well. He made a nice stop in overtime, so it was a good day for him to sort of get his bearings again. He hadn’t played in a while. I don’t know how used to it he is, not playing much. But at the end of the day, yes, he needed the win and he got it, so hopefully it leads to better things for him the next time he’s in.”

Rask stopped 24 of 25 shots and, though the Bruins played a strong defensive game in front of him, he did have to make some tough stops, especially in the third period. He made a sneaky good save on a long-range Tyler Seguin shot that was deflected, and he kept the game even when Krug was tagged with a questionable boarding call.

And perhaps as a tribute to his former backup Anton Khudobin – a noted tightrope walker who was playing at the other end of the ice for the Stars – Rask had to bail himself out when he gloved a puck and then handed it right to Valeri Nichushkin for a Grade-A scoring chance that he gloved.

He made a solid stop on Jamie Benn in overtime before Brad Marchand won it on a 5-on-3 power play.

It was a good game for Rask to build on, but he knows he might have to wait to do that. Halak deserves to play right now.

“Jaro’s played unbelievable. That’s how it goes. If you have a hot goalie like that, you have to let him play. I totally get it,” Rask said. “It hasn’t affected me mentally that much. You just try to practice hard and kind of feel that rhythm and feel the puck in practices. And when you’re playing, you try to be solid and get the wins. It’s going to be busy this week, so I think both of us will see lots of action.”

Rask is confident Cassidy won’t put him in storage, no matter how well Halak plays.

And until he get his game to where he wants it to be, Rask will keep waging the good fight between his ears.

“I think there’s some kind of clutch in your head that switches where you say ‘Screw this,’ try to have fun and let the puck hit you,” Rask said. “A lot of goaltending is mental. Everyone in the league has the skills to play at a high level, but a lot of times, you either win or lose the battle inside your head. I’m trying to win it.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.