Tuukka Rask was one of the main reasons the Bruins were in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. In the end, the 32-year-old goaltender and his Boston teammates fell just short of a championship after a 4-1 Game 7 loss to the Blues.
Afterward, a stoic Rask addressed the media. One of the major fault lines of the game happened in the first period, when the Bruins fell behind 2-0 despite outshooting the Blues.
“It was tough,” Rask said of the first period. “We created a lot of chances and shots, and I barely made a save and it was 2-0. I really wanted to make one of those saves, didn’t, but we tried to battle back. They’re a tough team to beat.”
“I think we’ve come back enough times that I thought we had confidence in ourselves and that’s what we kept saying,” Rask later added, “but obviously it’s shocking that you dominated a period and are down 2-0.”
The loss on home ice echoed Boston’s 2-1 loss at TD Garden in Game 5.
“It was kind of the same feel to it,” Rask said of the comparison to the earlier game. “It was a nightmare for me, obviously. Barely didn’t make a save in the first. And we tried to create [shots], we had few chances, and [Jordan Binnington] made the saves when they needed. That’s what you want to do when you’re on the road.”
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Still, Rask maintained that the loss came not from exterior factors, but just the superiority of the opposition on the night.
As he explained, it wasn’t pressure that the Bruins succumbed to.
“I think [when] you play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, in the finals, there’s always pressure. I don’t think it mattered to us that we were home. It definitely didn’t look like it. We played a good first period. When you’re down 2-0, you try, you try, you try, and nothing goes through, what do you do? That’s how it goes sometimes. I don’t think it was pressure.”
Another factor throughout the series was officiating, but Rask didn’t place blame on them, either.
“Can’t blame the ref at this point.”
Rask tried to have some perspective on the team’s season as a whole, but he found it difficult.
“It was a great season,” he said. “We battled hard, so we’re proud of each one of us here. But 15 minutes after a Game 7 loss, I don’t think anything is going to make us feel better.”
“We play for each other,” Rask explained. “We’ve been building that for a couple of years now. Every year you hope that you build something special and this year…we’ve had a great run. Just one game short.”