There’s a reason the Hurricanes have struggled to score against Boston Bin the Eastern Conference finals.
Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask.
The 6-3, 176-pound goalie dominated the Canes on Tuesday night. He gave up one goal on 36 shots, as the Bruins beat the Hurricanes 2-1 to take a 3-0 series lead heading into Game 4 of the playoffs in Raleigh on Thursday.
“He’s definitely the difference maker,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “You can feel it. There were a couple of (saves) in the second period, a couple of point-blankers — I remember (Sebastian) Aho had one — really that should be in, and he makes the save.”
That’s what Rask did time and time again. He came up with crucial saves that likely won the game.
The Canes came out firing in the first period. They managed 20 shots on goal, but came away with no goals. Even when the Canes had a 5-on-3 power play, they couldn’t score. For the game, the Hurricanes went 0-for-5 on power plays.
When asked what makes Rask difficult to score on, Canes defenseman Justin Faulk, who was visibly frustrated, shrugged his shoulders.
“If I knew, I’d have a couple more goals on him,” Faulk said.
The Canes lone goal was scored by Calvin de Haan in the second period. He managed to get the puck in between Rask’s legs and into the net.
“He just seems like he’s so calm in the net,” de Haan said. “Never fazed or out of position. He’s an elite goalie and you can only say good things about him.”
Rask has been tough to score on all season, and especially this series. His 11 playoff wins during this Stanley Cup playoffs leads all goalies, and his .939 save percentage is second only behind Canes’ goalie Curtis McElhinney.
Rask gave up five goals in the first three games of the series against the Canes, and has the Bruins on the brink of advancing to the Stanley Cup finals.
“That lifts your team big time,” Brind’Amour said of Rask’s saves. “When you make them over and over on some real good grade As, that’s how you win.”