Is This Tuukka's Year?

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Some may say that the biggest blemish on the great career of Tuukka Rask’s is that he has not won the Stanley Cup as a starter.  However he does have a Stanley Cup victory on his resume.  Rask was the backup to Tim Thomas during that 2011 cup run. Even though Tim Thomas had a remarkable season and was a major key of the Bruins winning the cup that season, Rask was still a big part of that team being serviceable when he was called upon on and continued to push Thomas in a friendly competition for that starting position. 

Photo courtesy of nbcsports.com
As some may forget, Rask was the starting goaltender in the 2009-2010 playoff run when the Bruins came up short against the Philadelphia Flyers when they blew a three game lead in the series and also a three goal lead in Game 7.  Coming into the 2010-2011 season, Tim Thomas won the starting job coming out of training camp and finished the year with a collection of hardware from the Vezina (Best Goalie in the NHL), Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP), and the Stanley Cup.  

But this is not the Tim Thomas story - this is about Rask.

Shop for Boston Bruins jerseys at NHLShop.caRask was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2005 in the First Round at pick number 21.  He then was traded to the Boston Bruins on June 24, 2006 for the 2004 Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year) winner Andrew Raycroft.  Even though Rask was drafted by the Leafs he has never played a game for Toronto.  All of Rask’s games in his 13 seasons as an NHL goalie for the Boston Bruins.

Even though he has been in the league for 13 years, Rask didn’t start getting number one type numbers until 2010, with a couple seasons when Thomas was the starter, but Rask has had the reigns since 2013.  Rask has now started over 500 games as an NHL goaltender.  In Rasks 13 seasons he’s won the Vezina Trophy once in 2013 and has participated in the NHL All-Star Game once.

Rask has also brought two teams to the Stanley Cup Finals as the number one goaltender.  In 2013 the Boston Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup.  Then, in 2019, the Boston Bruins lost to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the SCF.

So the question is, Is This Tuukka’s Year?

As of right now, in the 2019-2020 season Rask is currently ranked #1 for Goals Against Average with a 2.13 GAA, and ranked #6 for save percentage with a .928.  He also has a 25-6-7 record with four shutouts.  So far this season Rask's numbers are better than last year and are comparable to his Vezina winning season numbers.  Even though the 2013 season, when Rask won the Vezina Trophy, was a shortened season due to a lockout, and Rask has played more games this season, he could be on pace to beat those numbers. 

I know that regular season numbers have no indication on a team winning the cup because once the playoffs start those numbers don’t mean squat, and riding a hot goaltender through the playoffs is what generally gives a team that edge to win the cup.  We have seen this happen the past few years with Jordan Binnington last year in St. Louis, Braden Holtby in Washington two seasons ago and can go back to the Penguins back-to-back cup wins when they rode Marc-Andre Fleury one season and Matt Murray the next.

So if Tuukka can continue his hot Vezina like season and ride it into the playoffs, I believe that Rask will be able to be the hot goaltender and finally get over of the hump of not being able to close out a Stanley Cup Finals Series.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Is This Tuukka's Year?
Is This Tuukka's Year?
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