Now probably is a good time to keep the anti-Tuukka Rask crowd in your thoughts and prayers.
The (often unnecessarily) maligned Boston Bruins goaltender has been sharp all postseason, but his record hasn’t always been there to show it due to quiet offensive performances from his teammates. However, the solid play has always been there, and that never was more clear than Thursday night.
In Game 4 of the B’s second-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Rask turned away 39 shots en route to a 4-1 win that leveled the series at two games apiece.
Rask made a number of key saves in the win, among them a stop on a Boone Jenner penalty shot in the first period that would’ve tied the game at one. Moments later, Patrice Bergeron scored to put Boston up a pair.
This form hardly is new, either. Though he’s just 4-3 in his last seven games, in that stretch he has a 1.75 goals against average with a .941 save percentage — his postseason save percentage this year is .933. It’s not hyperbolic to say that he has been one of the best goaltenders in the league this postseason.
“Tuukka was outstanding,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I thought he really fought hard to compete on second chances tonight, especially their power play there, I think it was in the third period, there was a lot of second chances and they’ve scored some goals like that. We’ve got to do a better job in front of him obviously with the clears, but I thought he really competed hard to find pucks in there. Made some good saves on some odd-man rushes and the angles, and then obviously the penalty shot. That’s a big turning point in the game.”
The Bruins need Rask to continue this run while they keep looking to find an offensive rhythm, and so far he’s done more than enough.
Here are some other notes from Bruins-Blue Jackets Game 4:
— Bergeron had a pair of goals in the win, both of which came on the power play.
The center’s second goal, which came with just a few minutes left in regulation, helped him continue his ascent up the franchise record books.
That third-period tally was Bergeron’s 93rd (36-57-93) career postseason point, giving him sole possession of sixth-most playoff points in Bruins history. His goal in the first period gave him a share of sixth place with Bobby Orr.
— The Bruins led 2-1 entering the third period, and by winning, they now are 6-0 this postseason when they lead after two periods.
— Game 5 will take place Saturday at TD Garden. Puck drop is set for 7:15 p.m. ET.