By: Patrick Donnelly
Tuukka Rask has been nothing short of phenomenal since returning from his leave of absence. Even without what we hope is a clearer mind for Rask after resolving a personal matter, November is typically one of his best months of the year.
Since returning from the leave of absence, Rask has posted a record of 2-0-2 to go along with a sparkling .944 save percentage. Overall in the month of November, playing behind a defense corps without Zdeno Chara or Charlie McAvoy, among others. Rask holds a 3-1-2 record paired with a .933 save percentage compared to a dismal October that left him with a .902 save percentage. Overall for his career, Rask holds a .926 save percentage and 2.12 goals-against-average in November.
Rask especially stood tall last night in a huge 2-1 shootout victory over the Islanders. On a night where the Bruins retired “Nifty” Rick Middleton’s No. 16 to the rafters of TD Garden, things didn’t start out as well as the Bruins had hoped as Anders Lee swept a rebound under Tuukka Rask in the first period, one the Bruins goaltender will want to have back. From there on out for the rest of the night, Rask stood on his head, finishing regulation play with 22 saves before making six more in overtime and four in the shootout.
Rask was especially strong in the overtime frame, making some huge saves, including Mathew Brazal and Jordan Eberle breakaways and a point-black slapper from Ryan Pullock, although Twitter wasn’t kind enough to have a video of that one:
The Isles thought they had bested Rask once more in overtime, but an obvious goaltender interference call helped keep it going. Rask remained perfect through the shootout as Ryan Donato potted the game winner in his first action back.
Rask’s strong play of late paired with consistency from Jaro Halak spell nothing but good things for the Bruins. Bruce Cassidy has been platooning the tandem, starting each goalie every-other game, and it has paid off for the Bruins. Rask’s numbers have been among the best over his last six starts while Halak sits atop the league with a .939 save percentage.
If Rask can continue his upward trend, and Halak can keep it up, the Bruins will be in incredibly good shape to withstand the absences of Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron.