Rask showing why he's one of the best in the game

3/19/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Mar 8, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsWhen hockey pundits and fans alike found out that Tim Thomas was taking the 2012-13 season off from the Boston Bruins, there was not much panic in Beantown or hockey circles in general because of the young masked man the organization had behind Thomas, Tuukka Rask.

This especially rings true today. Rask has been one of the best goaltenders in the league since being given full-time duty in the Bruins' net.

To see just how good Rask has been, one can go back to his performance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year. In coming within two wins of lifting Lord Stanley's Cup, Rask went 14-8 with a 1.88 goals against average, a .940 save percentage and three shutouts.

Rask was especially good in the Eastern Conference Finals against the high-octane Pittsburgh Penguins. Rask allowed just two goals to a team that has the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Pascal Dupuis, Jarome Iginla, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, etc. and ended up stopping 134 of 136 Penguins’ shots and was the main reason why the Bruins got to the Cup Final.

Had the Bruins beaten the Chicago Blackhawks in the Final last year, Rask might have been given the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league's most valuable player in the postseason. Time and time again, Rask was his team's best player and was the main reason why the Bruins came so close to winning their second Cup in three seasons.

It was also in the playoffs last season that Rask showed that he learned from the past. Unlike 2010, Rask was able to win a pivotal Game 7 in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs and also unlike 2010, Rask and his mates did not allow a 3-0 series lead to slip away against the New York Rangers in the second round and then again in the Conference Finals against the Penguins.

Moving on to this season and Rask's play has not slipped one bit. In 50 games, Rask is 31-14-0-4 with a 2.07 goals against average (second in the league), a .929 save percentage (third in the league) and six shutouts (first in the league).

Night in and night out this season, Rask has been rock solid for this year's Bruins hockey club. Rask knows how to control his rebounds, is good at cutting down the angles on opposing shooters, gets himself into position for first, second, and sometimes even third shots, and more importantly, he wins hockey games.

If one have been following the Bruins or are a fan of NHL goaltenders, Rask’s play between the pipes should not come as a surprise. He is one of the best goaltenders in the game and has put up consistent stats since joining the league full-time in the 2009-10 season.

At just 27 years of age, Rask's star will continue to shine for the Bruins and hopefully, even brighter come April, May, and June when he and his teammates get to compete for the Cup.
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