By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Game 7 gave Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask a chance to defeat a tired, lazy narrative once and for all.
Instead, Rask — like the rest of the Bruins — came up short in a losing effort, with the 32-year-old stopping 16 of the 20 shots thrown his way en route to a 4-1 Game 7 defeat on TD Garden ice. And it didn’t take long for the ‘Rask let them down once again’ takes to get fired up on the airwaves and online, as you’d expect.
But Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy wasn’t going to put this on Rask.
“Well there really shouldn’t be [criticism of Rask],” Cassidy said.
“We scored a goal with two minutes left, I mean he could have stood on his head and given up one so. They outplayed us at certain moments of the game at all positions and that’s why they won,” Cassidy continued. “The second goal is a great play by their defenseman to join the rush. They finished some plays when they had to and we didn’t.”
Victimized for two goals on four shots in the first period, the second of which came as a direct result of what was a completely unforgivable line change from Brad Marchand, the truth is that Rask’s deficit should have been enough for this Bruins team to rally from if they had any offensive footing. That never came, though, with the Bruins failing to get on the board until a Matt Grzelcyk box score goal with three minutes remaining in a long-decided game.
“[Rask] was excellent, he was our best player [this postseason]. I don’t think anybody is leaving the building, unfortunately, in our locker room saying they put their best foot forward and that’s the whole group,” Cassidy offered. “We didn’t get it done at every position, coaching staff, whatever, they ended up being better than us and did what they had to do to win.
“It’s that simple.”
Rask finishes the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 15 wins and a league-best .934 save percentage and 2.02 goals against average.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.