Tuukka Rask has been the Boston Bruins’ best player in this Stanley Cup Final.
That was the case before Game 6, and it certainly is the case after Game 6.
Rask made 27 saves as the Bruins staved off elimination, taking a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night at Enterprise Center to force Game 7 back in Boston on Wednesday.
But make no mistake, Rask has thrived most with the series on the line in these playoffs.
Sunday moved Rask’s save percentage to .973 in elimination games, stopping 145 out of 149 shots that have been thrown his way.
“Well yeah, this playoff he’s been outstanding. If you look at these Game 6’s he’s been lights out, every one. In Toronto, in Columbus, in St. Louis now,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told Jack Edwards on NESN’s postgame coverage. “So good for him. You can’t say enough good things about him. He’s solid every night. The first game, none of us were any good against Toronto. Other than that, I think Tuukka has been our best player throughout the playoffs and we needed him.
“We were able to back him up with some support as well, so I think that always makes goalies a little more comfortable,” Cassidy added. “But I don’t know if we would have needed a whole lot for him with how good he was.”
And thanks to another gutsy performance, Rask has earned the chance to pad these numbers even further in Game 7 with the Stanley Cup in the building at TD Garden.
Here are some other notes from Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final:
— The decision to play Karson Kuhlman certainly paid off nicely.
Kuhlman had not played since Boston’s second-round series, but Cassidy decided to throw the 23-year-old onto the second line in hopes he would provide a scoring spark.
He did just that, going bar-down in the third period to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead. He also became the 21st different Bruin to score in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, tying the NHL record.
— Torey Krug kept up his offensive pace.
The defenseman added an assist on Brad Marchand’s power-play goal in the first period. It was Krug’s sixth point of the series, trailing only Bobby Orr for points by a blueliner in the Cup Final. He has 18 points in the playoffs, which trails only Ray Bourque.
— The Bruins will host a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.
They are the last of the Original Six franchises to do so.
It also is the first time the Stanley Cup Final had gone seven games since 2011. Who remembers what happened that year?
— Wednesday will be the first Game 7 in Boston since 1984.