Rask Excelling in Spite of low Expectations
Photo Credit: Boston Globe
Coming into the postseason, the Boston Bruins had a lot to prove. After a second-round exit last season they had aspirations of advancing much farther this time around. While many different players have stepped up so far, Tuukka Rask has been the star.
The Bruins netminder has been crucial to the team’s success and even better in the second round. At a time when many people expect Rask to falter, he has been at his best. It has not only reflected in his performance but the stat sheet as well.
Through thirteen games this postseason Rask has eight wins and a save percentage of .938. So far in the playoffs, he has faced 435 shots and only allowed 27 goals. In the second round, he allowed more than two goals only once and twice throughout the whole entire postseason. He has bailed out his teammates during the postseason and was at his best on Monday night.
At the beginning of the series against Columbus, a lot of the talk was focused on Blue Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky. He was seen as the better goaltender and coming off an impressive performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning. That, however, was not the case as Rask silenced his critics in dominating fashion.
Entering Game 6 the Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella was confident his team would force a game seven because Rask “ was dented.” The Bruins goalie responded by posting a 30-save shutout in arguably his best game of the playoffs.
Although Rask is off to an impressive start, he still has more to prove. The Bruins will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference finals, which will be no easy task. The Hurricanes have allowed the second least amount goals per game in the playoffs behind only the Bruins. Rask will need to be at his best, as goals will be at a premium. He will be facing a Carolina team that has been one of the highest scoring squads this postseason. The former first-round pick, however, has proven that he is up to the task.
Heading into the third round, Rask’s goals against average sits at 2.02. It reflects just how good he has been as in his playoff career he is averaging 2.21. That is even more impressive considering the number of overtime games the Bruins have played. Rask has been a warrior, and he has exceeded all expectations and has the Bruins four games away from the Stanley Cup finals.