Is Tuukka Rask Jinxed?

Let me preface this post by saying that I do not believe that Tuukka Rask is responsible for the Boston Bruins blowing a three games to one lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs in this year’s first round of the NHL playoffs.  Again, the losses in games five and six, and the necessity of a game seven later tonight are not Tuukka’s fault.  The Bruins lost those two games as a team.  No one player bares any more blame than any others (although Seguin and Marchand might have made a difference if they’d actually bothered showing up).  I am just commenting on a trend.

The Boston Bruins are currently playing their third playoff series with Tuukka Rask as their number one goalie.  In 2010 they played and beat the Buffalo Sabers in the first round with Tuukka in net.  In the second round they took a three games to none lead over the Philadelphia Flyers before blowing the series in epic fashion by losing four consecutive potential clinching games.  This year they are facing the Toronto Maple Leafs and jumped out to a three games to one lead.  In games five and six this weekend they had two opportunities to clinch the series and lost them both.

Do the math there and you will see that the Boston Bruins have lost SIX consecutive potential series clinching games IN A ROW with Tuukka Rask in net.

What is it about having Tuukka in net that makes the Bruins unable to win the most important games?

I recall having a similar discussion last year.  Tuukka’s goals against average and save percentage stats were stellar, but his win/loss record was pretty bad.  Why was it that the Bruins couldn’t, or wouldn’t, win in front of Rask?  I couldn’t answer that.  I thought that maybe he was just an asshole and maybe the rest of the team was seriously unmotivated when he was in net, but then we found out that Tim Thomas was a complete nut job and the team played like animals in front of him.

What is it about Rask?

I can’t think of a time when I saw Tuukka actually steal a game for the Bruins.  If I’m wrong about that please leave a comment with an example.  I want to be wrong.  Tim Thomas used to do it once in a while.  The Bruins would be outplayed for a solid stretch of time and Thomas would make saves that he had no business making and the Bruins would sneak in a goal or something and steal the game.  Tuukka makes big saves, but does he ever make super human saves the way Thomas could?  I don’t think so.  The Bruins needed huge saves to make up for their painful defensive lapses last night, and on at least two occasions Rask wasn’t up to the challenge.  Again, the goals were not his fault, but on a team that is contending for the Cup (which I do not believe for a second that the Bruins are) they sometimes need their goal tender to be a superman.  Rask doesn’t seem to have that ability.  At least not to my untrained eye.

Tuukka Rask reminds me a little of Roberto Luongo.  A fantastic goalie who is just. not. quite. fantastic. enough.

Game seven is tonight.  We shall see.  We shall see.

Go Bruins.

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