Boston's Tuukka Rask Steals Game 6, the Series, the Blue Jackets' Season

By Dan Dukart on May 7, 2019 at 12:41 am
Tuukka Rask might be the Conn Smyther frontrunner right now.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask wasn't just good on the way to clinching his team's Eastern Conference Semifinals series with a 3-0 shutout to end the Blue Jackets' season, he was extraordinary.

In the six games it took for Boston to advance, Rask went 4–2 with a .948 save percentage and a miserly 1.71 goals-against average. In the clincher, he was at his best, stopping all 39 Columbus shots. Only three goalies in the last 65 years have stopped more shots in a series-clinching shutout.

Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, who quipped that he thought his team had “dented” Rask in Game 5, knew one man – and a few posts – was the difference in the game.

“Rask took off. We had some opportunities, but Rask just took off. We played hard. I thought it was our best game of the series.”

The 32-year-old Fin had his doubters coming in, even in Boston, but was fantastic for the third consecutive elimination game of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, going 3–0 with a .969 save percentage, a 1.00 goals-against average and a shutout in the three games the Bruins needed him most this postseason.

The Blue Jackets put 212 shots on Rask, creating 68 high-danger chances in the series, but exit with just 11 goals to show for it in six games.

Nick Foligno may have said it best: “We peppered him.”

With the shutout, Rask joined elite company for the historic franchise, becoming the third Bruins goalie to record two-series clinching shutouts, joining Gerry Cheevers (1972, 1977) and Tim Thomas (2011, 2011).

If the Bruins can continue to get this level of goaltending for the Bruins, it's hard to imagine they won't at least compete for a chance at winning his first Stanley Cup as a starting goalie. He may even have a Conn Smythe in his future.

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