Tuukka Rask mag­nif­i­cent for Bru­ins in Game 6

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - MICHAEL TRAIKOS POST­MEDIA

ST. LOUIS — The prob­lem with declar­ing that Tuukka Rask has played his best game of the play­offs is that it’s an overused line.

The Bos­ton Bru­ins goalie has been that good. He’s had too many nights to count when he’s looked bet­ter than he’s ever looked be­fore. And then the next game, he goes out and some­how looks even bet­ter.

Still, his 28-save per­for­mance in Game 6 of the Stan­ley Cup fi­nal has to be among his best, if only be­cause of how great the stakes were.

“It’s hard to re­ally pick one at this point,” Bru­ins cen­tre Pa­trice Berg­eron said of yet another game in which Rask was at his best. “I thought he was tremen­dous against Carolina as well and you can go down the line. He’s been at his best for a while now.”

Down 3-2 to the St. Louis Blues in the best-of-seven se­ries — and with some­where around 100,000 fans fill­ing the streets out­side En­ter­prise Cen­ter in down­town St. Louis hop­ing to cel­e­brate the fran­chise’s first-ever cham­pi­onship — Rask needed to be bet­ter than he had ever been be­fore. He needed to be the Bru­ins’ best player.

More than that, he needed to steal a game. And, in a 5-1 win that forced Game 7, he did just that.

“I mean, it goes with­out say­ing, he’s been a big rea­son why we’re in this po­si­tion,” Berg­eron said of Rask.

“And tonight, he was def­i­nitely in the zone and gave us that spark, I guess, if you will. He made some tremen­dous saves, es­pe­cially early on to keep us in the game and then that first goal that got us go­ing.”

You knew this was com­ing. You knew the Bru­ins wouldn’t go down easy and that Rask would be hard to beat on a night when his sea­son — and quite pos­si­bly his play­off rep­u­ta­tion — was on the line. But even he ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions, as St. Louis went 0-for-4 on the power play.

“He was the best player on the ice,” said de­fence­man Char­lie McAvoy.

Brad Marc­hand, Bran­don Carlo, Kar­son Kuhlman, David Pas­tr­nak and Zdeno Chara scored for the Bru­ins. But this was hardly a blowout. For two pe­ri­ods, the Blues were the bet­ter team. If not for Rask, who kept the score 1-0 through 40 min­utes, this could have been a dif­fer­ent story.

In­stead, the se­ries is now head­ing to Bos­ton for a win­ner-take-all Game 7 on Wed­nes­day.

It’s now the Bru­ins who have con­fi­dence. And it’s the Blues who might now be won­der­ing whether they blew an op­por­tu­nity that might not come around again, es­pe­cially if Rask has another one of these games in him.

“I’ve been dream­ing of this mo­ment for my whole life, to win this tro­phy,” said McAvoy. “And that’s all it re­ally is — a dream. And then all of a sud­den, you’re here and it’s gone by fast, we’re al­ready in Game 7. I’ll be damned if I blink. There’s no time to be wor­ried or ner­vous of this sit­u­a­tion.”

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