Over the years, Tuukka Rask has become notorious for struggling in the seasons opening month. The Bruins goaltender got off to a slow start last year that included a personal leave of absence at the start of November.
His numbers over the past five Octobers have been brutal. But this year, things have gone differently. The Finnish native has gotten off to a dominant start for a Bruins team that is 5-1-1 through its first seven games.
In four games this season, Rask has only one loss and already recorded one shutout. The former first-round pick has already faced 123 shots and only allowed seven goals. He has only allowed more than two games in a game once while facing teams that are expected to be in the playoff picture.
Although the season is far from over, Rask’s start is a good change of pace for one of the NHL’s top teams. The Bruins have one of the best goalie tandems in the league, and have not had to rely on Jaroslov Halak right out of the gate. Unlike last season there have not been questions surrounding one of the Bruins key pieces right away.
Additionally, Rask has a .946 save percentage and GAA of 1.72 in 244 minutes of play. Rask now ranks top five in both categories and is tied for the league lead with one shutout. It has been a drastic change for Rask in a month in which he has averaged a save percentage of .915 and a GAA of 2.49 throughout his career.
With Rask off to a hot start, expectations have only increased for this season. Throughout the veteran’s career, one question has been how good could Rask be if he didn’t have October dragging him down. If he can continue his strong play, then that question may finally be answered.
After last nights loss to Tampa Bay, the Bruins are third in the Eastern Conference. While Rask struggled at times he was also key in forcing a shootout. As Tampa Bay pounded the net, Rask bailed the Bruins out multiple times with the game on the line.
As the season progresses, Rask is only supposed to get better. Having Halak as his backup helps as he is coming off a stellar first year in Boston. All eyes, however, will be on Rask as in the coming weeks he will try to conquer a month, that to this point in his career has gotten the best of him.