Re: Tuuka Stats
posted at 6/8/2013 6:51 PM EDT
deza knows what I felt about Thomas and his importance to 11 Cup and his spot in B's history among goaltenders. He was very strong in his confidence in Tuuka, and I had doubted the Rask man because I partly put blame on him for the Philly Collapse and then I doubted him more when he lost the job back to TT after that year.
I don't know how many times I probably doubted Rask going into this season. But as sometimes I let my emotions get in the way of how a goalie has played of his caliber, the high rankings Tuuka has consistently been in save percentage, goals against. When TT had his epic personal meltdown as I felt he did going back to his putting politics before team, I put my hat in the Rask ring (and still gave Khoudobin his props in some strong efforts this season). But I didn't know how he would do playoff-wise. I still had my doubts. Then he had the 2 games in Toronto, and I'm telling you, those doubts were eliminated in those 2 contests. I thought he was beyond brilliant, and he showed acrobatic ability that I don't think I truly captured until that point of the playoffs. From that point on, including his fall-down goal v. NYR, I hope people know that I started to see that Rask was elevating his game. Even deza said that I might have been putting him a little high on the chart a little too early in the playoffs based on a game or two.
But it's plain and simple. He perhaps had the greatest goaltending performance in B's history in Game 3. There is absolutely no way in the world the team wins that game without him stopping 15 to 20 legit goal scoring shots, and when it looked like the team was collapsing under Pens fire, especially periods 2 and 3, Rask came through again and again. It was not just TT like, it was better. There is an inherent difference between Tuuka and Thomas. Thomas was the flair for the dramatic, the guy who made saves out of challenging guys to beat him in front of the crease. Rask does it from INSIDE the crease. He is an artform. He is relaxed. And he went an entire series v. one of the great scoring teams of the last 25 years without making a single mistake, unless you want to blame him for the first goal allowed v. Pens at Pittsburgh. I don't think I will ever see a goalie completely murder a team of weapons so expertly and do it so calmly. Always loved Thomas in that he made saves out of sheer will and athleticism. Rask makes saves out of pure goaltending 101. Thomas made mistakes, some dumb ones, and some that cost the team, and he left rebounds out there. Rask makes so few mistakes, I just feel like he has things under control no matter if the team is shaky or not.
The biggest difference in the B's defense now and in 11 I feel is that there is more consistency in the plan, less breakdowns overall. That would be the advantage that Rask has now over Thomas in 11, so for that reason, it's hard to debate that Thomas' 11 was anything less than MVP. He saved the team when the team did breakdown and he saved the team when at times the other teams were swarming. Rask does not face as nearly the number of rebounds that TT did, but he also doesn't give the kick-out type rebounds that were because TT played the style he played. So in some respects, Thomas brought that on himself. Rask always knows how to capture the puck and bury the puck in his pads or under his glove. This is an alltime pleasure for me to see Thomas and now Rask put on a clinic. This is playoff goalie hockey at its finest. I hope Rask gets the Cup as a starter, he's more than earned it.