Tuukka Rask has proven a degree of brilliance and consistency that hasn’t been matched by another netminder this post-season, and after dropping one Stanley Cup ultimate as a starter, he is two victories away from profitable all of it – and fairly seemingly the Conn Smythe Trophy, as nicely.Tuukka Rask|Dave Sandford/NHLI by way of Getty ImagesST. LOUIS – Within the Boston Bruins’ visiting dressing room in Enterprise Heart, there’s a photograph beside Tuukka Rask’s stall from the Stanley Cup celebration in 2011. It reveals Rask, nonetheless in full tools along with his mouth agape, eagerly awaiting a shot of champagne from the Cup. It’s a photograph Rask is aware of very nicely. “I’ve the identical one at house in my man cave,” he mentioned.
Largely due to the play of their Vezina Trophy-winning goalie, the Bruins are two wins away from recreating that photographic reminiscence. And in the event that they do, there’s an nearly sure likelihood Rask will add a Conn Smythe Trophy to his assortment. Together with his subsequent level, Brad Marchand will take over the playoff scoring lead. Torey Krug has been a beast within the Stanley Cup ultimate and is the evil genius behind their deadly energy play. However the fixed this spring has been Rask, who has made saves each of the routine and spectacular selection. He goes into Sport four Monday night time with a .939 save share and a 1.91 goals-against common and is offering the form of dialed-in goaltending a crew must win a Stanley Cup.
All anybody talks about in the case of Rask as of late is his exceptional poise. And so they’re proper. A part of the rationale why he’s so efficient is that he makes troublesome saves routine due to superior positioning. However it’s greater than that. Rask, who turned 32 in March, is an image of calm. On this Stanley Cup ultimate, Rask has endured some aggressive play by Blues forwards and saved his cool. He was bumped a few instances in Sport three by David Perron and even had phrases with him, smiling all of the whereas via his masks. Rask mentioned after the sport that Perron accused him of diving. That’s to not say the aggressive fires aren’t scorching in him, however he has definitely develop into higher at dealing with his feelings.
Definitely so much higher than 2009 when he gave up what he thought had been two controversial objectives throughout a shootout with the Windfall Bruins, then responded by slamming his stick towards the boards and throwing it helicopter-style throughout the ice, then tossing a milk crate on the ice on his method down the tunnel.
“I believe he’s all the time had composure,” mentioned Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “Simply again when he was youthful, like loads of guys, his focus wasn’t what it’s now. He had one incident, it’s a magnificence. I don’t suppose it rattles him once I deliver it up. I hope it doesn’t. I don’t need to get in my very own goalie’s head.”
That’s additionally to not say that Rask is now proof against the occasional outburst. Within the Bruins’ collection final spring towards the Tampa Bay Lightning, Rask misplaced a skate blade and tried to alert the officers, however not earlier than Mikhail Sergachev scored a purpose. Rask was furious, displaying the officers the skate blade earlier than throwing it of their course. Within the second spherical of this yr’s playoffs towards Columbus, the Blue Jackets scored a purpose in Sport four that counted although the puck hit the netting behind the Bruins’ purpose. Rask was requested after the sport whether or not he was conscious on the time that the play ought to have been blown useless. “Subsequent factor I see it’s on the left aspect and I’m scrambling and I’m on my ass and it’s within the web,” Rask mentioned after the sport. “If I noticed it, I most likely would have slammed my stick and chased the refs, so it was most likely higher that I didn’t see it.”
The street so far has been a protracted and winding one for the Bruins. At one level through the collection towards the Blue Jackets, it nearly appeared as if they’d run out of fuel. However amid the peaks and valleys, Rask has been a mannequin of consistency. Solely as soon as in 20 playoff video games this spring, within the first spherical towards the Toronto Maple Leafs in a sport by which he confronted 42 pictures, has he allowed greater than three objectives towards. In actual fact, it’s exhausting to recollect a sub-par outing he has had this spring.
“He’s dialed on this playoff,” Cassidy mentioned. “He is aware of what’s at stake. He gained one (Stanley Cup) as a backup and misplaced one as a starter towards the Blackhawks and he desires to flip the script this time round.”
Now Rask is 2 wins away from doing simply that, and getting one other memento for his man cave.
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Tags: boston bruins, goaltending, stanley cup playoffsConnect: Concerning the AuthorKen CampbellKen Campbell, The Hockey Information’ senior author, is in his second tour with the model after an eight-year stint as a beat reporter for the Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star. The Sudbury native as soon as tried out for the Ontario League’s Wolves as a 30-year-old. For sure, it did not work out.