Canada’s Bergeron vs. Finland’s Rask
In two weeks time, Patrice Bergeron will probably laugh at Team Canada’s victory over Finland. Bergeron’s goalkeeper in America, Tuukka Rask, started for Finland earlier today, battling Bergeron and the North American juggernauts.
Team Canada showed some signs of weakness early, but scraped their way to a 2-1 victory. Drew Doughty buried both goals for Canada, including the overtime game-winner.
Rask with 25 saves on 27 shots, and some incredible stops. Bergeron with 15:28 ice time, 86% on faceoffs, 1 shot on Rask ^CS #NHLBruins
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 16, 2014
Rask may have gotten the better of Bergeron, despite the Finns’ 2-1 loss to the Sidney Crosby and Co.
It was obvious that Finland was relying soley on Rask. They tightened the middle of their own zone and forced the Canadian forwards to beat them with first-class puck movement. Rask, though, did live up to expectations making a few spectacular saves on the 27 shots he faced. One of his more memorable stops occurred in the beginning of the first period when he snagged a great glove save on Chris Kunitz.
Bergeron wasn’t a scorer or playmaker for his squad, although he did dominate the face-off circle. He supplied Canada with meaningful possessions and kept Finland on their toes.
Still, Rask kept the score close throughout the match, giving his country a fighting chance against a Canadian team that maintains the most gifted players in the world. Without the Bruins’ goaltender, the Finns would still have two good goalkeepers available, Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen.
I’m not sure if these net minders could handle the “big-game” pressure quite like Rask did.
As for Bergeron, his face-off efforts stand out because they were purely individual. He was isolated one-on-one with no help from his superb teammates.
Consequently, its hard to decide which Bruins’ player was more critical to their team. Who, in your mind, performed better?