When it comes to sports during the playoffs, there will always be a player(s) that will step up in big moments. Most teams have one or two players who are the superstars of the team, and always seem to be the hero. This year for the Bruins, there have been plenty of players that have stepped up in desperate situations. I would like to take a close look at these specific players, and give them the credit that they deserve.
I could dedicate a whole article to the spectacular play of Tuukka Rask in these playoffs so far. Going into the playoffs most people could only remember the pain of Rask surrendering a 3-0 series lead to the Flyers in 2010. There were some that believed Rask was a different player since that colossal collapse, but nobody saw this amazing play coming. The goaltender position is one of the most important positions in hockey, and without great play from that player a team’s playoff run could end rather quickly. In the playoffs this year, Rask has a save percentage of .944 percent overall, and that my friend is amazing. There have been many comparisons to Tim Thomas, who played out of his mind in the 2011 Stanley Cup run (posted a NHL best .967 save percentage in the Finals, and a .938 regular season percentage), which in my opinion is a great honor. Going into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Penguins, many said that Rask would be dominated by their high-octane offense. Rask stood on his head the whole series, and allowed the Penguins to score TWO goals the whole series (that’s not a typo, he would also have two shutouts which were in game one and four). Rask still has three more games to win before it’s all said and done, but to this point Rask has been nothing short of stupendous.
Torey Krug spent most of this season in Providence, where he helped them post the best record in the AHL. Krug was called up by Boston to fill a major void (Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference, Wade Redden all going down) at the blue-line, and I don’t think anyone expected him to play as role as he had so far in his short NHL career. Before entering his post-season play, Krug had only suited up for three regular season games in a Bruins uniform. He only stands 5’9, which is rather small for defensemen, but his offensive ability is what landed him a spot on the Bruins roster. In his first playoff game for the Bruins, Krug scored a goal becoming the first Bruin do to so since Glen Wesley in 1988 (which is great company). The heroic play by Krug wouldn’t stop there though, as Krug would score in his second game becoming the fourth player in Bruins history to do so. Krug would go on to score in four of his first five games, which landed him in unchartered waters, as he is the only player in NHL history to do so. Krug has natural puck handling skills as a defensemen, and has been rather physical in the cup run so far. He has had mental lapses here and there, but cut the kid a break because he is only 22, and has come up big when the Bruins desperately needed him.
The Bruins have had spectacular play from many players through this Stanley Cup run, but it’s been the unsung heroes who have made this run possible. In last night’s overtime win against the Blackhawks, Chris Kelly and Danny Paille would be the unsung heroes (Kelly scored in regulation, Paille would score the game winner) that would lead the Bruins to victory. It takes a team to win a Stanley Cup, but along the way it takes key contributors from players that most didn’t expect.
(Side Note: Game Three of the finals is set to be played in Boston on Monday at 8:00 pm eastern time. )