Throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has stolen games for his team and in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final Sunday in St. Louis, he shut the door again with 28 saves in a 5-1 Bruins win over the St. Louis Blues to force a Game 7 Wednesday in Boston.
Rask wasn’t the only one to deliver in the clutch for the Bruins in Game 6 as the first line finally found the scoresheet and Bruce Cassidy’s hunch paid off.
Here’s your Game 6 Report Card and analysis:
Tuukka Rask: A +
Throughout the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Rask has performed his best when his team faced elimination or had a chance to clinch a series. He won Game 6 facing elimination against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round and then Game 7 to help the Bruins advance to the second round. Rask came up huge in the following rounds against the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes as well and in Game 6 with the Bruins’ season on the line, he stopped 28 of 29 shots to help his team force a Game 7. As is usually the case with Rask, the majority of his saves were boring and to the point, but with the Blues on a powerplay 9:11 into the second period, Rask and Charlie McAvoy teamed up on what may become a defining moment for this Bruins team. With the win, Rask is now 4-0 in elimination games with a .75 GAA and .975 save percentage. He also has two shutouts when his team is facing elimination.
McAvoy with the stick. Rask with the glove.
— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) June 10, 2019
Perfection Line: A
What was arguably the best line in the regular season and at key parts of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, has been an enigma of late. Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak instilled fear through the regular season, but through five games in the Stanley Cup Final, they were invisible. In Gane 6, the big boys for the B’s showed up and delivered. Marchand and Pastrnak had a goal and an assist each and Bergeron went pointless but had six shots on net. The Perfection Line was as close to perfect as they’ve been in this series. A key for the Bruins was Marchand’s power-play goal 8:40 into the first period. Marchand had been under attack from the Blues’ defense and drew the penalty. His discipline paid off and he was able to convert on the man advantage.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 10, 2019
Bruce Cassidy: A
I’m not afraid to eat crow and Bruns head coach has made beg for something to ease the bad taste before Game 6, but man I need some honey or something to kill this sour taste.
#NHLBruins F David Backes needs to be in the lineup for Game 6. Think back to 2011 and Shawn Thornton playing over Tyler Seguin. Every member of that team, including Seguin, told me the presence of Thornton's leadership/grit was invaluable. It's do or die and he's made for this!
— Jimmy Murphy (@MurphysLaw74) June 9, 2019
Cassidy made the right call inserting the speedy, tough rookie Karson Kuhlman into the lineup instead of David Backes. Kuhlman put the Bruins up 3-0 10:15 into the third period and made anyone crying for Backes’ grit and experience eat some major crow. Cassidy also needs to be credited for the way he stuck with what many considered the best line in the NHL during the regular season. They rewarded him for his faith when it mattered most and once again he looks like the Jack Adams candidate he’s not.
I can't stop watching this Karson Kuhlman rip. pic.twitter.com/t4MjwhUD7k
— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) June 10, 2019