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Through two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, Tuukka Rask is finally getting the credit he deserves. Tuukka played well, but didn’t look fantastic against the Maple Leafs, but the Bruins team in general had their up and downs in the series. Rask came up with some big saves in game seven after letting up the four goals which helped swing the momentum in the Bruins favor, and we all know how that series ended.
Rask really elevated his game against the Rangers playing well in every game except game four where he took a fall and had a couple mental errors that lead to giving up four goals to the Rangers. The Rangers would go on to win that game, but that would be the only game they would win. Since game four of the Rangers series, Tuukka Rask has faced 85 shots, and he has saved 83 of them. He has only given up two goals in the last three games and only one to the NHL’s best offense.
With all the questions about Rask and the Flyers comeback three years ago, Rask has let his play do the talking. In the two seasons that Rask has been a starter, he has been in the top five statistically in every category except for wins, which is not something that always reflects his play. Rask, though questioned a lot this year, put up good numbers and was a top goaltender, in the playoffs, especially the last two rounds, he has proven that he deserves to be in the conversation for the best goalies in the NHL. It isn’t fair how he has been compared to Tim Thomas in the Bruins Cup run a couple years ago, but one thing you notice right away with Tuukka is that he does not let the “headlines” get to him and he just plays his game.
With that said, through this point in the playoffs, Rask has better numbers in every category, except for shutouts, posting 10 wins, a 1.99 goals against and a .935 save percentage. With that said, Thomas played incredible in the finals and finished with a 1.98 goals against and a .940 save percentage and shut the Canucks out in Game 7. Tuukka does not have to put up those numbers for the Bruins to win the Cup, but if he is anywhere close and the team continues to play how they are, they will be very hard to beat.
Besides Tuukka Rask’s great play, David Krejci continues to show that he should be talked about as a top NHL player. He may not produce like the Crosby’s, Malkins, or Ovechkins of the world during the regular season, but when the Playoffs start, he seems to elevate his game to a new level. This was apparent when the Bruins fell to the Flyers after Krejci got hurt early in the series and when he lead the league in goals and points during the 2011 playoffs.
If Tim Thomas did not have such a great post season, Krejci would have won the Conn Smythe. Right now, he and Jonathan Quick are tops for that award right now. Krejci is tied for the lead in goals with eight and leads all players in points with 20.
For a player that has been talked about being part of trades the last few years, he, like Tuukka, is quieting all critics who doubt him and is showing why he is one of the best players in the league.