Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/08/14 at 08:48 AM ET
from Chris Villani of the Boston Herald,
No one questions whether Tuukka Rask is among the NHL’s best goaltenders. He’ll likely win the Vezina Trophy this year and, believe it or not, his 1.87 goals against average is the best of any goalie in the postseason. Still, if the Bruins are going to make this a long spring for Hub hockey fans, he needs to be better.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of blame to assign as the Bruins get set for Game 4 of their conference semifinal series, trailing the Canadiens 2-1. The top line has been absent, the B’s have not created enough quality chances or buried the ones they’ve had, and the inexperience of a young defense corps has started to show. Oh, and I suppose we need to give some credit to the Habs somewhere in there as well.
But that’s where having the best goaltender in the league comes into play. A college hockey coach told me that nearly every goal in hockey is the result of two or three mistakes, and a great goaltender has to be, literally, that last line of defense. In Game 3, all three Habs scores while Rask was on the ice were the result of defensive breakdowns. Kevan Miller lost Tomas Plekanec on the first one, everyone forgot about P.K. Subban coming out of the penalty box on the second, and the back line let Dale Weise get behind them on the third.
Three times, Rask was put in the unenviable spot of having to bail out his team and make a big-time save. Three times, he came up empty.
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