Over the past month, the Boston Bruins have been the hottest team in the NHL. They have earned at least a point in 17 straight games, as their last loss in regulation came on January 19th. During this stretch, many different players have stepped up, however none more than Tuukka Rask. After struggling mightily earlier this season, the Bruins number one goaltender has been on fire. He has not only silenced his critics, but made history during the Bruins impressive stretch.
After the Bruins victory over New Jersey last weekend Rask joined elite company. By extending his point streak to seventeen games, Rask became only the second goalie in NHL history to accomplish the feat twice in his career. Like last season Rask has carried this team for over a month as they now are tied for second in the NHL. As Rask has made history, he has also put himself in the Vezina conversation.
Through 36 games Rask is not leading the NHL in any categories. His goals against average rank is tied for tenth best, and his save percentage is tied for eleventh. That is due to how badly Rask began the season. While his numbers as a whole are not Vezina worthy, he has been playing at an elite level since late December.
Over the Bruins last sixteen games, Rask has thirteen wins and three loses, all of which came in overtime. In that span, he has an impressive goals against average of 1.99 and save percentage of .931. Rask also has two shutouts in that stretch, giving him three on the season. As the Bruins have been without their top goal scorer, Rask has shined in net. This streak has silenced his critics after a horrid start that had some questioning if he should still be the number one goalie in Boston.
Even though Jaroslav Halak has continued to play well, Rask has reclaimed his job with authority. This has allowed the Bruins to have one of the best goalie tandems in the league. Keeping Rask fresh down the stretch, however, will be key as this team looks to make a deep postseason run.
During Rask’s record run he ranks near the top of every statistical category for goaltenders. When this team needed him at his best he has stepped up. While a second Vezina would be rewarding, the main goal for Rask is a championship. If he can continue his recent level of play, then he could be taking home some hardware at the end of the season.
For more Bruins news follow Jamie Gatlin on Twitter @JamieGatlin1217