By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Tuukka Rask was by no means bad on Monday night. But he wasn’t quite as good as the guy at the other end.
Frederik Andersen made 34 saves for the Maple Leafs in a 3-2 win over the Bruins in Game 3, and made some heroic saves in the process. In a high-octane game with an even battle in 5-on-5 shot attempts (61 each, per Natural Stat Trick), neither goalie had a regrettable night. Andersen made just a couple more plays than Rask when he needed to. Perhaps only one more.
Late in the third period with the Bruins down 3-2, David Krejci had a tie game on his stick. He had a choice to make: attack Andersen’s five-hole, or go for a backhand to the left. Krejci chose the latter, and had practically the whole net. He couldn’t lift it, and Andersen stoned him with the butt end of his stick. The save was easily the biggest of the game and one of the best stops in a superlative series for the Leafs netminder.The Bruins out-shot the Leafs 36-34 in the game, but according to NST Rask faced a higher volume of “high-danger” scoring chances in 5-on-5 (12 vs. 8). Special teams is where the Leafs really burned him, though. They generated four total scoring chances with the man advantage and scored twice, compared to one goal on three chances for the B’s.
Unfortunately for Rask, all three goals gave him a chance to come up with a true game-changing save. It’s unfair to foist too much blame for the scores on Rask. But on the first one, he let a shot from Morgan Rielly squeak through his pads and he couldn’t clear the rebound in time. On the third, he couldn’t quite get a glove on Andreas Johnsson’s backhand.
The plays started with bad turnovers in the defensive zone and an inability to keep up with the Toronto forecheck. They ended with goals.
Rask did make his share of timely saves, most notably an excellent sprawling stop on Zach Hyman as the Leafs winger got a step on David Pastrnak. The save kept the game at 3-2 Leafs halfway through the third.
Ultimately, both goalies kept the game tight, especially in the first and third periods. Both teams generated a number of quality possessions and scoring chances. But sometimes, a game like Monday’s does come down to the goaltending. And while Rask has little to dwell on from his performance in Game 3, he came up a little short to Andersen in that department.
Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with that. Andersen has been perhaps the best, most consistent player on either team in the series. Maybe Wednesday’s Game 4 will be Rask’s turn to make one more play than the other guy.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.