Rask Proving A Lot of Fans Wrong in Boston
By Patrick Hoffman
For what seems like the longest time, all Boston Bruins fans did was complain about their goaltender Tuukka Rask.
They said how he did not play well in big games, that former Bruins' goaltender Tim Thomas was better (not even close), and even suggested this season that Jaroslav Halak should be the starting goaltender instead of Rask. My oh my were these folks wrong.
After shutting out the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 3-0 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Bruins are in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Sure, the Bruins got timely goal scoring, but the main reason why the Bruins won the game is because of the play of Rask.
Rask was masterful in making 39 saves and showed why he is an elite goaltender in this league. He came through when his team needed him to, he made the big saves, and he gave the team in front of him confidence despite the fact that they were outplayed for much of the game.
Going into the ECF, Rask's playoff stats are impressive. He is currently (May 7) 8-5 with a 2.02 goals-against average, a .938 save percentage, and one shutout. If those are not elite numbers, then I do not know what numbers are considered elite.
Rask was the main reason why his team were able to knock out the Blue Jackets. He stopped 201 of 212 shots and his save percentage was .909 or better in every single game in this series.
Throughout the series, he made several unbelievable saves, kept the team in every game, and stood tall when he needed to. Had he not played the way he did in this series, I do not think the Bruins would be moving on to the next round.
I truly hope that fans who usually knock him will pipe down now. For starters, he's a great goaltender.
As of this writing (May 7), he has 265 career wins, a 2.28 career goals-against average, a .921 career save percentage, and 45 career shutouts. He keeps up this kind of play and he should go into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Secondly, whether fans think it or not, he's a solid playoff performer. As of this writing (May 7), he is 43-35 with a 2.21 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage, and six shutouts. Not bad for a guy who fans claim does not play well in big games.
Lastly, and as I mentioned above, he is the main reason why your team is four wins away from going to the Stanley Cup Final. I don't know about you, but when it comes to Rask, fans need to realize that he is one of the best goaltenders in the world and they should be lucky to have someone like him between the pipes for their favorite team.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.