It took an all-world effort for Pavel Datsyuk to put one past Tuukka Rask in Game 1 and it took a deflection off Luke Glendening’s shoulder to put another goal past the Bruins’ net-minder. On Tuesday night, Rask was flawless turning aside all 23 shots directed his way to earn his fourth career postseason shutout.
Rask has turned aside 80 of the 82 total shots he has faced through three games by the Red Wings. That amounts to an eye-popping .976 save percentage.
This is nothing new for the B’s as he is continuing to prove to the rest of the National Hockey League why his name keeps coming up in the Vezina Trophy conversation.
The Bruins held a 43-3 record when they possessed a two-goal lead or more during the regular season and they continued that dominance in Game 3, but it’s for a reason. Their goaltender just doesn’t let in many goals-granted he did not have that much success versus the Red Wings in the regular season, but from a series stand point, Rask has been superb.
We can discuss the B’s power-play being 3-for-8 in the series or their outstanding penalty kill, but the real story is keeping the puck out of the net and Rask is doing that. The defense in front of him is relentless, but he has made some key stops in key situations to give the B’s the 2-1 series lead. There has been the difference makers in this series-like a Justin Florek, a Jordan Caron and a Reilly Smith, but Rask is that steady rock between the pipes for the B’s.
The B’s improved to 14-1 in Game 3′s under head coach Claude Julien. That is the result of hard work, sticking to the system and their goaltending whether it was Tim Thomas a few years ago or Rask in there now.
Four of the last eight wins for Rask in the playoffs have come via the shutout. It is no secret here folks, Rask loves the spotlight. He sports a 0.67 goals against average through three games against a highly skilled team. We have seen this before when he shut down the Pittsburgh Penguins last year in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Rask was nearly hit with an octopus tonight during the Red Wings tradition of throwing them on the ice, but given the way the Finnish goalie has been playing, he would’ve stopped the eight-legged creature in it’s track if it came near him.
Look for Rask to continue his dominance in Game 4 as the B’s look to gain a strangle-hold on the series Thursday night.