Tuukka Rask : Playoff Hero

The Boston Bruins traveled to Washington DC to face the Capitals with the chance to close out the series tonight at the Capitol One Arena. Thanks to Tuukka Rask, that’s exactly what they did; completing the “gentleman’s sweep” and sending the Caps on summer vacation with a 4-1 first round victory. 

The Bruins had the same lineup as last game except for Kevan Miller who was waylaid by a (yet another) scumbag hit by a Capital’s player. In Miller’s absence the Bruins had Jared Tinordi playing alongside Conor Clifton. While Tinordi doesn’t have Miller’s snarl, he definitely has the size to bang with the Caps’ big bodies. 

Once again the first period was a study in special teams as the Bruins were whistled for 4 penalties and the Caps got a pair called against them. Neither team cashed in on the power play, even when Washington had the rare 4 on 3 power play for half a minute.  The shots were mostly even and the Caps didn’t have the surge that I was expecting in a possible series ending game. Rask had the best save of the period when he went right to left to deny Sheary at the left post at the 7:00 mark. And were those Tuuuuuuuuuk calls I heard on the broadcast?

Originally tweeted by Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) on May 23, 2021.

Home Boy Jack was in top playoff form tonight: Example A –  when Brad Marchand got called for roughing on Carlson on a forecheck (it was a ridiculous call) the comment was “I want a blood test on Herbert, he’s hallucinating”. But the best was yet to come. David Pastrnak undressed Dowd on the Bruins first goal when he walked him with a between the legs drag and then outwaited Samsonov as Jensen stood there watching. Like I said last blog, hell of a coaching job by Laviolette. Keeping the Caps defending man to man leads to some UGLY looking goals against. Home Boy Jack described it more succinctly than I can: “Nic Dowd’s supporter is somewhere in the 8th row as Pastrnak fakes him out of his jock!” No one is better than Playoff Home Boy Jack, no one.

This goal was complete filth

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on May 24, 2021.

The Captain: Patrice Bergeron tallied the eventual game winner 3 minutes later when he got Samsonov to bite that he was going to pass to Brad Marchand on the RW side. Samsonov leaned a little to far to his left, and Bergy beat him with a drag snap low stick side below the blocker. The goal was really set up by a dominant shift by the 4th line prior to the Erection Line coming over the boards. Sean Kuraly, Curtis Lazar and The Mayor of Walpole: Chris Wagner kept the puck along the boards deep in the Caps zone their entire shift and Wags absolutely blew up yet another Caps scumbag Orlov. The Bruins were outshot 20-4 in the middle frame but scored 2 goals on 4 shots. Yikes, how’s your save % Samsonov?

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on May 24, 2021.

Sheary opened the 3rd by scoring just 11 seconds into the period (setting a Caps franchise record for quickest score to open a period), and the game was noticeably more physical and the ice tilted even more towards the Bruins end. The Caps continued their onslaught from the 2nd period; carrying the play and throwing everything on the Bruins’ net . Thankfully, Rask was dialed in, sharp on his angles and anticipating shots. Rask was here to play tonight. And then who else but Bergy with the dagger late in the 3rd? On the back check the 4x Selke award winner picked the puck cleanly off Oshie’s blade and walked down the slot to beat Samsonov over the shoulder behind Pastrnak’s screen.

3-1 good guys and now the clock was working against the Caps. 

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on May 24, 2021.

There was a crucial play late in the 3rd with the Caps on a power play that I’m surprised went the Bruins way. Kuznetsov was tangled up with Tinordi on a net drive and as Tinordi pushed him, he extended his arms (that’s a cross check brotha) to push Rask off his line. The puck went back to Eller and he potted what would have been a big goal short side . Rask went straight at the on ice officials to plead his case and during the subsequent review it was decided that Kuznetsov did not try to avoid Rask and the goal was wiped off the board. Looks like the Kremlin red phone didn’t get answered in NHL headquarters tonight. I guess the reason Kuznetsov was sniffling so much was that he was upset with the call, I mean what else could it be? When your day is done and you want to ride on…..

This series was not as close as some of the games seemed. The Caps spend too much time running around and not enough time trying to win the game. They came out flat last game and were passive in the first period tonight. You have a captain barking at a rookie goalie on national tv and everyone on the roster plays over the edge. It’s a scumbag team with a coaching staff that is unimaginative at best: How do you not adjust your power play until game 5 down 3-1 in the third period? That was when they finally moved Ovechkin to the top of the umbrella.

The Bruins beat the Caps in all aspects this series from on ice performance to coaching.

Who’s next? The Bruins are a quarter of the way home: 12 wins to go. 

Plus/Minus:

Plus

  • Tuukka Rask is a bona fide stud. All the Tuukka haters who say he can’t steal a game or a series? He stopped 40 of 41 shots tonight and for the series? How about a 0.944% save percentage and 1.71 GAA. Is that good?
  • Mike Reilly played his best game as a Bruin tonight.
  • The Bruins got strong contributions from every line in this series and they will need that going forward. Love to see each line with it’s own identity and the ability to play any style as a team.
  • Next man up – Jared Tinordi hops into the lineup and played solid on the third pairing and was out there for the final horn and played big minutes on the PK.

Minus

  • Jake DeBrusk got back to his flybys tonight a few times. Hope that’s pointed out to him in the video sessions prior to the next series.

Game Notes:

Patrice Bergeron is now tied for most goals in Bruins history in series clinching games. He and Milan Lucic both have 11 goals.

Taylor Hall has finally won his first NHL playoff series in his 11th year

The Bruins started an all American defensive corp this entire series.

  • Matt Grzelcyk – Boston, MA
  • Charlie McAvoy – Long Beach, NY
  • Brandon Carlo – Colorado Springs, CO
  • Mike Reilly – Chicago, IL
  • Kevan Miller – Los Angeles, CA
  • Conor Clifton – Long Branch, NJ
  • Jared Tinordi – Burnsville, MN

Lastly, if this is the last time that we see Zdeno Chara in a NHL game, the guy went out on his own terms. He was an important piece in the Capital’s success this season and what he built in Boston will endure forever. He changed the culture here and was a force in bringing the Stanley Cup back in 2011. For all he’s done on the ice and off, I’ll always be a fan of his and I will always be rooting for him.

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on May 24, 2021.

Author: Brownie

Hockey fan/player from the greater Boston area.

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