Tuukka Rask makes statement in Bruins' Game 4 win

Evan Marinofsky
April 18, 2019 - 8:58 am
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The roof was mere decibels away from blowing off Scotiabank Arena on several occasions Wednesday night. The Maple Leafs faithful could feel the chance to go up 3-1 in the series.

But the roof never did blow off. Instead, Tuukka Rask fended off any chance of that happening, as he stopped 38 of 42 shots en route to a 6-4 Bruins win in Game 4. 

Rask made his biggest statement of the season thus far: in a do-or-die Game 4, he made the big saves and led his team to tie the series -- one that's barely ever been in the Bruins favor. 

Don't get me wrong: Rask wasn't free of mistakes. The second goal of the game, an Auston Matthews wrist shot from the top of the faceoff dot to Rask's left, needed to be stopped. Those shots can't be slipping through Rask at any point during the season let alone Game 4 of the first round. 

After that softie trickled through, Rask covered up his holes and for the rest of the second period, he was as clutch as he's been all season long. 

His stop on Connor Brown was the save of the night by far. 

In the final two periods, the Bruins were outshot 30-17. Rask stood in for all that, controlling rebounds and keeping the Maple Leafs from completing the comeback.  

And a lot of people may forget this, but when the Bruins got out to the 2-0 lead just minutes into the first period, the Maple Leafs woke up and released an onslaught of pressure on a Bruins team that seemed complacent with its two-goal lead. 

And Rask was there to never let the Leafs get too much momentum. 

But Evan: Tuukka gave up four goals in an important game! Time for Jaroslav Halak! 

No. Wrong. Let's go over the other three goals against. 

The first Leafs goal of the game came with a bit more than two minutes to play in the first. Morgan Rielly threw a wrist shot on net from the point and it was tipped by Zach Hyman right in front of the crease. This one really isn't on Rask because of the late redirection. 

With the third goal, it was a tic-tac-toe play on the Toronto power play that ended with a Matthews tap-in. This one isn't on Rask at all. 

Initially, the fourth Leafs goal looked like the blame could be pinned on Rask. But after a second slow motion look at it, the Travis Dermott wrist shot from the top of the circle went off Noel Acciari's backside and into the net. Rask was actually in a good position to stop the shot had it not been tipped. 

The bottom line is that while Rask did give up four goals -- yes, including one he should've had -- he also made 38 saves and bailed his team out several times as the Maple Leafs threw everything at him.

Pundits and talk radio personalities will slam him for giving up Matthews' first goal of the night. They may even call for Halak to be brought in. But in the biggest game of the Bruins' season, Rask faced the most pressure he's seen all series long. The Leafs fleet was in full force and he came out on top. 

He also never let the roof blow off.

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