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Tuukka Rask’s Second-Period Mastery Puts Boston On Brink Of Cup



Boston Bruins

With 11 days between the last game of the Eastern Conference Final and the start of the Stanley Cup Final, I started wondering things like, which Bruins player would be the Hound on Game of Thrones? Today I was curious how Boston’s numbers looked in the second period of this postseason.

I went through the game log of every game Boston has played this postseason and used data from Naturalstattrick to create the following “2nd-period stat tables” for Boston’s playoff run.

When you look at the second-period numbers, Tuukka Rask’s 2019 performance is even more jaw-dropping as Boston, at least on paper, was outplayed in the second period in a large percentage of these games.

Here’s what the second-period numbers look like starting from the first game of the playoffs (in all situations):

2nd Period Stats vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Corsi For %Shots ForShots AgainstScoring Chances ForScoring Chances AgainstGoals AgainstGoals

In the series, the Leafs had 50.93 percent of the scoring chances showing just how razor-thin Boston’s margin of victory was to begin their Cup run. It was the beginning of the Toronto series that we first saw the kernel of Tuukka Rask’s epic playoff run. I don’t think we (at least me) appreciated what we saw at the time, but the second-period performances by Rask foreshadowed his grip on what could be an eventual Conn Smythe triumph.

2nd Period Stats vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Corsi For %Shots ForShots AgainstScoring Chances ForScoring Chances AgainstGoals AgainstGoals

This was the series where it was clear Rask was beginning to play on a level we had never seen before. The Bruins were outchanced in every second period except for Game 1. It’s easy to forget since the final score was 3-0 for Boston that Columbus had completely tilted the ice in the second period of Game 6. Overall, Boston did have 51.55 percent of the scoring chances against Columbus and a slight edge in shots (216 compared to 212), but I would contend that Rask’s second-period mastery was the key reason Boston was able to keep the ship steady against Columbus.

2nd Period Stats vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Corsi For %Shots ForShots AgainstScoring Chances ForScoring Chances Against Goals Against Goals

Remember, Carolina had a 2-1 lead going into the third period in Game 1 of this series. It easily could have been 4-1. Once again Rask put on a show and kept Boston within reach of a win. I believe that the second period was a psychological injury in which Carolina never would recover. In the series, Boston had 52.06 percent of the scoring chances and were the overall better team.

Boston was outshot 107 to 114 during the series, and it was evident by the end that Rask had an all-time playoff performance. I would say it’s a once in a lifetime performance for a fanbase to witness, but Boston fans also have the Tim Thomas cup season to compare this to. It’s been that type of run in Boston; even an all-time great performance has a comparable that’s not even a decade old.

Rask has been the best goaltender this postseason with a 1.85 goals against average and a .942 save percentage. Boston has the decided advantage in net going into the Cup Final — Binnington has a 2.36 goals against average and a .914 save percentage through 19 postseason games.

Game 1 of the Cup Final is Monday night. It will be interesting to see if Rask can carry his dominance over to the next round after an 11-game layoff.

Thank you to naturalstattrick 

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