Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tuukka Time: Rask Rises to the Occasion as Bruins Mount Their Cup Charge

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tuukka Time: Rask Rises to the Occasion as Bruins Mount Their Cup Charge

Article excerpt

Tuukka time: Rask rises to the occasion


BOSTON - Two years ago, Tuukka Rask was all but ignored as the Bruins mounted their Stanley Cup charge.

The lanky Finn attracted virtually no attention as reporters swarmed his teammates at a hotel restaurant on the Vancouver waterfront during a media availability session.

Tim Thomas was the man in the Bruins mask back then, a beaming smile under a bushy beard. Rask was the guy on the bench, watching as the Boston starter went 16-9 in the playoffs, leading all post-season goalies in save percentage (.940) and goals-against average (1.98). Thomas was rewarded with the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after Boston dispatched the Canucks in seven games.

Two seasons on, the Bruins are back in the final. The goalie numbers remain about the same. But the name has changed.

Thomas is gone, taking his Facebook political pronouncements with him. Rask leads the playoffs in save percentage (.944) and his goals-against average of 1.73 was second only to Chicago's Corey Crawford (1.72).

Both goalies have done their teams proud. But against Rask, the Hawks have needed more than ordinary shots. It has taken the equivalent of double-raise takeout shots to beat the Boston goalie.

The Bruins point to Rask as the man keeping them in Game 2, when the Blackhawks dominated the first period.

While Thomas used to make highlight-reel saves, throwing himself around the crease, Rask is a tall man who fills the goal, using his stick and pads to seal off ice level and his torso the rest.

They are very different but the end result is the same.

"At the end of the day, it's about stopping the puck," said Boston defenceman Dennis Seidenberg. "So we really don't care how it's being done."

Taken in the first round -- 21st overall -- by Toronto in the 2005 draft, the Bruins acquired Rask from the Leafs in June 2006 for fellow goalie Andrew Raycroft. …

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