Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask continues playoff mastery
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org June 17, 2013 11:46PM
Updated: August 17, 2013 3:13AM
BOSTON — Now the Blackhawks know how the high-powered, star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins feel.
And it’s an empty feeling — a goal-less feeling.
Goalie Tuukka Rask can do that to folks. Rask posted a 28-save shutout in the Boston Bruins’ 2-0 victory against the Hawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on Monday.
“He’s been focused since Day 1 of the playoffs,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
Rask shut out Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and the rest of the Penguins twice in Boston’s sweep of the Eastern Conference final. He allowed just two goals that whole series.
The Hawks have only been able to beat Rask once in the last two games. Is Rask in their heads a little bit?
“No, I don’t think so,” Jonathan Toews said. “We worked through the series we had against Detroit [where] we had a little time where we had trouble scoring goals. Sometimes it happens. Goaltenders got a lot of confidence.
“They’re playing well around [Rask]. We just got to be better and work harder for those loose pucks. We’ve done it before and we’ll find away to do it now.”
Coach Joel Quenneville agreed wholeheartedly. The Hawks failed to make Rask’s job tough in Game 3.
“We ran up against some of the best goalies in the league here,” Quenneville said. “Tonight, I thought we made it rather easy on him as far as traffic and finding and seeing pucks. We got to be better at going to the net in non-puck areas.”
Of course, the Bruins’ defense in front of Rask deserves a lot of credit. They’ve boxed out the Hawks and continue to block a lot of shots, including 17 on Monday. A woeful power play and poor performances in the faceoff circle only complicate matters for the Hawks.
“They had shots, but most of them came from the outside,” Rask said. “We eliminated a lot of those rebound opportunities.”
The Hawks, though, aren’t short on confidence.
“We’ve had no problem scoring goals, ever really, since I’ve been here,” Patrick Sharp said. “We’re in the Stanley Cup Final against a team that deserves to be here, is here because of the way they’ve played defensively and check away from the puck. So, it’s tough to score out there, but we’ve got to find a way. We know what’s on the line.”