The Boston Bruins knew they were going to need to take a 2-1 lead at home. To get that lead they were going to need a few things. They would have to play their committed defensive minded hockey, get the fans involved and keep them involved, and to have their net minders play like it was their last game of their career. Tonight the Bruins got all of that from themselves, their fans, and Tuukka Rask.
Tuukka Rask earned his third shutout of the post-season last night, stopping all twenty eights shots brought against him. The Bruins 2-0 win gives them a 2-1 lead in the series going into game four on Wednesday. This now extends Rask’s shutout time to a staggering 122 minutes and 26 seconds. Last night’s performance dropped Rask’s goals against average to an incredible 1.64. His save percentage is .946%, that’s even higher than Tim Thomas‘ average during the 2010-11 cup run (.940). At this point, it’s Tuukka Rask’s Conn Smythe to lose.
The other side of the bench had nothing but praise for Tuukka. Blackhawks’ head coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Rask’s performance. ”We ran up against some of the best goalies in the league here. ‘Tonight I thought we made it rather easy on him as far as traffic and finding and seeing pucks. I think we’ve got to be better at going to the net.”
In the end Tuukka was pretty circumspect about his performance. ”Obviously, you go triple-overtime, [then] overtime the next game, it takes a lot of energy out of you,” Rask said after the game. ”But we’ll take a regulation win, for sure.” Rask had nothing but respect for the Blackhawks after the game. He has seen his teammates play desperate hockey to get to the Final, and he expected nothing less from Chicago. ”You’re playing the last five minutes of the game, you know they’re going to throw everything at you that they possibly can. Got the penalty there. Got a little lucky there, one save off my blade and the post.”
In the end, Tuukka gave the Bruins their seventh straight home win in the playoffs, and is playing like he was the best goaltender in the NHL. According to his numbers right now, he is.