Tuukka Rask is playing his way into the Vezina conversation


Remember when Tuukka Rask’s season was a disaster and Jaroslav Halak was going to take his job and the Bruins were going to have to ship Rask out of town to clear cap space?

The days of panicking in the streets about Rask seem like years ago, just like how long it feels since Rask lost a game in regulation.

After Rask pitched his third shutout of the season with 20 saves against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday at TD Garden, it’s been more than two months since Rask lost in regulation.

To be precise his last regulation loss was Dec. 23 at the Carolina Hurricanes. Since that night he’s gone 14-0-3 with a .933 save percentage and has played his way almost into the top 10 in the NHL in save percentage (he’s 11th among goalies who’ve played at least 20 games at .922).

Rask since December 2914-0-3, .933 sv%

— Bruins Stats (@bruins_stats) March 3, 2019

He’s impressing his teammates, for sure.

“Poise, I think. I think the poise that he’s shown gives us obviously confidence,” Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said when asked what word would describe Rask during his hot streak. “He’s well-positioned facing basically every puck and his rebound control is pretty amazing right now. So it’s helping us a lot, bailed us out a few times, especially tonight, and we’ll take that.”

Rask faced just 20 shots and just a handful of high-danger scoring opportunities. He made a stop on a Jesper Bratt breakaway and other than that tried his best to keep his head in the game.

“I think it comes with the experience. You just kind of learn to hand out, watch the game and just take it like a practice, you know. When they come you try to stop it, and that’s it,” said Rask, who has 43 career shutouts.

Coach Bruce Cassidy said Rask is “in the zone” right now, and there’s no way to argue with that. Even the most ardent Rask critic has to be thinking that the No. 1 goalie for the third-place team in the entire NHL with a .922 save percentage is playing his way into the Vezina Trophy conversation. Well you could try to argue against it but you’d just be making yourself look dumb.

Marchand makes one count

Brad Marchand scored the lone goal during a Boston power 2:37 into the game. But he was stopped on a penalty-shot attempt at 7:16. Marchand now has 27 goals on the season.

Bergeron up the charts

After assisting on Marchand’s goal, Bergeron increased his career point total to 793 – tying Wayne Cashman  for six place on the Bruins’ all-time list.

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