By Jack Patel
If the Bruins want to sneak into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, their star goalie is going to have to keep his temper under control
On February 22, the Boston Bruins were leading the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 late in the first period on Hockey Day in America. The Blackhawks were headed to the power play after Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask handled the puck behind the net but outside the legal trapezoid zone.
Blackhawks’ golden boys Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews combined for a power play goal on the ensuing faceoff, frustrating the Finnish international causing him to slam his stick into the post in anger.
Only, that wasn’t the only thing he hit…
Rask eventually ended up taking a penalty for the incident forcing another teammate to sit in the box for his mistakes. Outside of these gaffes, Rask was nearly flawless for the rest of the game coming up with big save after big save despite a flurry of Chicago chances, including this one from Kane who is tied for the NHL lead in points.
The reigning Veizna Trophy winner for best goalie was superb on Sunday as the Bruins put up six goals against the Stanley Cup favorites on the road, successfully ending a six game losing streak. But the Bruins woes aren’t the major problem here; it’s the attitude of their goalie.
While the action of breaking or slamming a stick has seem to become quite the norm across the NHL (It seems like every netminder has a personal vendetta against the pipes this year), Rask needs to learn how to maintain his cool under pressure. This is a Bruins team that is banged up with some of their biggest contributors missing extended amounts of time throughout the season. Team captain and Defensemen Zdeno Chara is finally returning to form after missing extended time with a severe knee injury and Center David Krejci is now out 4-6 weeks with a knee injury as well.
If Rask continues to show so much frustration, compared to the stonewall he has been viewed in past years, the effects will begin to show on a team currently sitting on a slim three point lead in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
While the Bruins did make a statement crushing the Hawks 6-2 in an Original Six matchup, Rask needs to maintain his presence in the locker room. The last thing this team needs is to see their star goalie doubting his own skills. This is a very different Boston team compared to the one that won the President’s Trophy last year. And if their number one star can’t maintain his composure, the rest of the team will fall like dominoes.