He hails from the cold, icy and scenic area of southern Finland. Standing tall between the pipes, this 6-foot-3 Bronze medalist has given himself a great name in Boston and the NHL.
Tuukka Rask, starting goalie for the Boston Bruins, has grounded his feet in the NHL during the past few seasons with the team. Last season – the half season – Rask maintained a 2.00 goals against average while sustaining an impressive .929 save percentage. In the regular season, he ranked second in the NHL, for goalies who had played 35+ games, in two categories: save percentage and goals against average. Although the team’s record displayed 28-14-6, Rask’s stat sheet indicated he was a major reason why the Bruins had such a solid season.
Let’s talk last year’s playoff stats now. Tuukka Rask had the best save percentage (.940) in the NHL, out of goalies who had played at least two or more games. He also collected the most saves in the postseason (715), almost 100 more than Chicago Blackhawks goalie, Corey Crawford. To elaborate how impress that is, he faced a total of 761 shots in 22 games and only allowed 46 goals.
In the Eastern Conference finals, Rask recorded first two career playoff shutouts. Yes, you read that correctly, Rask collected two shutouts in a sweep series against top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. In the other two games, Rask allowed only two total goals. So, in the conference finals, the Penguins only scored two goals in four games against the Finnish-native. The Penguins did not go easy on the shots against him either. In the four games, he faced a total of 136 shots. He had a .985 save percentage for the series. In the third game, the double overtime thriller, Rask faced 54 shots, with only one of the shots sneaking past the crease and into the net.
Is Most Valuable Player for the entire NHL a long stretch?
Definitely not. Rask, this season alone, has already positioned himself on a good path of collecting the title. In 14 appearances, so far this season, he has allowed 23 goals while saving 390 shots – compiling for a .944 save percentage. The best is yet to come.
Jose Theodore (Montreal Canadiens ’01-‘02) and Dominik Hasek (Buffalo Sabres ’96-’97 and 97-’98) are the only two goalies to have been deemed talented and competitive to win the title of MVP since 1962. Could Rask be the third?
I think so. You are probably reading this thinking ‘this kid has no clue what he’s talking about – Rask isn’t that valuable.’ Isn’t he though? A team starts from defense to offense, and without a strong goalie the team cannot succeed. Rask has held teams like the Anaheim Ducks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks, etc. to two goals or less this season and we still have a whole lot of hockey to play. Right now, you can argue that it is too early to judge who is in the running for MVP, but do not neglect the fact that Rask displays necessary value to the Bruins.
Don’t believe me? Check out for yourself when he and the Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, Nov. 11 at 1:00p.m. and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 7:00p.m.