While I watched the Boston Bruins get bounced in the playoffs this season there was part of me that was a bit happy. Don't get me wrong I am as big of a Bruins fan that there is but I can't fathom the fans obsessions with starting goaltender, Tuukka Rask.
Let's take my dislike for this man back to the 2010 season. The Boston Bruins breezed my the Buffalo Sabres in round one as they won the series 4-2. Round two is where my hatred began. For those of you who don't remember round two was against the rival, Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins were able to get up in that series 3-0. Tuukka Rask had allowed a total of seven goals in the first three games of the series and then hit game five. The Bruins ended up losing game five of the series by the score of 5-4 in OT. Game six hit with the Bruins still up 3-1 in the series. Rask allowed four goals on 31 shots giving him a sub-par .871 save percentage for the game as the Bruins now were clinging to a 3-2 series lead. The Bruins dropped game three of the series which gave way to a game seven between the two teams. Game seven saw the Bruins go up early 3-0 but that didn't last for long as Rask gave up four goals in a row to the Flyers as the Bruins got bounced in game seven. This was the first time ever that a team in the NHL came back from being down 3-0 in a series. Rask was horrendous in the final game of the series as he gave up four goals on 27 shots and was outplayed but current back up to a backup, Michael Leighton.
Let's rewind to the 2010-2011 season. Tim Thomas was given the starting job from the Bruins after Tuukka Rask lost the Bruins season opener, 5-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes. Thomas took the starting job and ran with it posting a NHL record in save percentage at .938 which edged out Dominik Hasek's .937 once standing record. Thomas sent the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup finals since 1990 when he posted a shutout win over the Tampa Bay Lighting. Thomas set the record for most saves in a postseason recording 798 and stopping a record 238 pucks in the Stanley Cup finals which broke Frank McCool's 66-year record of fewest goals allowed a 7-game Stanley Cup Finals by only allowing eight pucks past him. Thomas also became the first goaltender ever to post a shutout in game seven on the road of the Stanley Cup Finals. Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy(playoff MVP) that year and walked away with his second Vezina Trophy(awarded to the best goalie in the NHL).
Thomas gets blame for the following year as the Bruins were bounced by the Washington Capitals but in actuality Thomas was great, only allowing 16 goals in seven games. Thomas allowed one goal in regulation in game seven but one ended up squeaking by him in OT.
The following season Thomas decided to take time off due to personal issues and Tuukka Rask was once again given the starting job for the Bruins. Rask posted good numbers in the regular season like always but once hit the Stanley Cup Finals times changed. Rask was horrendous in game four of the series versus the Chicago Blackhawks as he allowed six goals on 47 shots giving him a dismal .872 save percentage on the day. That I consider a choke because if the Bruins had have won that game they're sitting 3-1 up in the series heading to Chicago for game six. Game six was won by the Blackhawks as they evened the Series 3-3.
Game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals gave choking a whole different meaning. The Bruins found themselves up 2-1 in the third at the 12:11 mark after a Milan Lucic goal. The game remained 2-1 for most of the third until a Bryan Bickell snipe notched it up at two. The Blackhawks answered 17 seconds later, as there was 59 seconds left in the game, as Dave Bolland was able to beat Rask glove side and complete a comeback by the Blackhawks that saw them score twice in 43 seconds to win the Stanley Cup. Tuukka Rask had not allowed two goals in 17 seconds ever so that is why this is considered a choke.
And we all know what happened this postseason as Tuukka Rask allowed three goals on 18 shots against Montreal in game seven as the Presidents Trophy winning Boston Bruins were bounced in just the second round. Rask was completely outplayed but his counterpart, Carey Price, who saved 29 pucks on 30 shots to lift Montreal.
So I'm wondering if Tuukka Rask is in net for game five against the Lightning does he make that stick save? I don't think he does and I don't think the Bruins win the Cup that year. What I have seen from Rask he doesn't have the ability to make clutch saves.
So Tuuka Rask's regular season record for his career is 102-60. His career playoff record is 28-19. I'd say there is pretty big difference there which makes reference to his playoff struggles.
Now people say that since Rask is up for the Vezina Trophy he must be great right? Wrong. Past goalies to win the award:
-Sergei Bobrovsky---never won a Stanley Cup and allowed 16 goals in five games this past postseason.
-Henrik Lundqvist---never won a Stanley Cup
-Ryan Miller---got traded mid-season and posted a 2.72 and 2.47 GAA with the Buffalo Sabres and the St. Louis Blues respectively
So my point being is just because you win the Vezina doesn't mean you're good enough to carry your ream to the glory land.
"We weren't ready to play and they came at us hard, It was kind of a disater to let in those goals," Rask said following Finland's 8-4 win over Austria which he allowed four goals on 20 shots.