ST. LOUIS — With the Boston Bruins dealing with elimination on Sunday, Tuukka Rask got here up massive.
Maybe you have heard this story earlier than.
Rask was as soon as once more distinctive for Boston, making 28 saves — together with one which rolled off his again — because the Bruins defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-1 in Sport 6 to drive a Sport 7 on Wednesday.
It has been a well-recognized pattern for Boston this postseason: Depend on the 32-year-old Finn when it issues most. In Video games 6 and seven of the first-round sequence in opposition to Toronto, when Boston confronted elimination, and Sport 6 on Sunday, Rask is Three-Zero, with a 1.33 GAA and .953 save share. Rask allowed solely 4 targets in 178.81 minutes of play.
“He is been an enormous motive why we’re on this place,” teammate Patrice Bergeron stated. “He was undoubtedly within the zone.”
Added defenseman Charlie McAvoy: “He simply steps up when it issues, and we’ve got all the religion on this planet in him, and to see him play the best way that he did, it is actually not a shock to us. We simply imagine in him a lot, and we all know the sort of individual and participant he’s. He is our rock.”
It was all of the extra spectacular contemplating the ambiance in St. Louis. Earlier than puck drop, practically 30,000 followers poured right into a downtown sq. surrounding the sector, and the group buzzed because the Blues regarded to clinch their first Stanley Cup in franchise historical past. St. Louis got here out aggressively on the forecheck, maintained possession and had the primary energy play as they started the sport with a 5-1 lead in pictures. Rask took it from there.
St. Louis completed Zero-for-Four on the facility play. Many Bruins gamers known as Rask their greatest penalty killer.
“We killed that penalty within the first interval. That is large,” Rask stated. “Final time we have been right here, they scored 30 seconds in. Clearly you don’t need that to occur once more. We weathered the storm fairly good after which obtained the lead. It was an ideal begin.”
Rask’s unflappability has been obvious in these playoffs. In interviews from the primary spherical to now, he has by no means wavered in tone. He has exuded confidence and tranquility.
With one other standout efficiency on Sunday, Rask catapulted to the favourite for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. In any case, no goalie has performed as many video games in a playoff yr as Rask’s 22 whereas posting a greater save share than his present mark of .941. Coincidentally, the goalie who beforehand held that report? Tim Thomas, who led Boston to its most up-to-date Stanley Cup in 2011 with a .940 save share in 25 video games. Rask was the backup on that staff.
Rask pitched a shutout by two-and-a-half durations and was near changing into simply the fourth goalie previously 60 years to report a shutout on the highway whereas dealing with elimination in a Stanley Cup Ultimate. The others in that elusive group: Tim Thomas, Ed Balfour and Patrick Roy.
Maybe Rask’s most ridiculous save got here within the second interval, when a puck bounced off the publish and deflected off Rask’s again earlier than McAvoy batted it away.
Rask had already seen a replay by the point he met with reporters.
“I did not know the place it was, and I figured it could be someplace behind me, so I simply tried to corral it with my hand behind my again — after which it caught in my pants, after which it fell someplace,” Rask stated. “I feel Chucky made an ideal play to maintain it out of the web initially, and it is by no means a superb factor for a goalie to kinda be dealing with the play along with your again, however fortunately it stayed out.”