Found May 15, 2013 on Blue Seat Blogs:
Boston_bruins_v_42a5
Tuuuuukkkkkkkaaaaaa After dispatching a tough Washington Capitals team in the first round, the Rangers have been rewarded with the Boston Bruins as their next opponent.  Boston is coming off a somewhat improbable victory over an upstart Maple Leafs squad who is trending in the right direction.  Opposing The King in this series will be former Maple Leaf, Tuukka Rask. Rask is a former 1st round pick of the Leafs (21st overall), who was moved to the Bruins for Andrew Raycroft (!) just before the 2007 season.  Rask was putting up solid numbers in Finland, but was just 19 years old at the time of the deal.  Toronto needed established goaltending now, and had Justin Pogge waiting in the wings.  This left Rask expendable, and former Bruin’s interim GM and current Rangers assistant GM, Jeff Gorton, was more than willing to make that deal.  Obviously, this one worked out well for Toronto.  Rask made it over to North America in 2009-2010, and has been groomed as Boston’s goalie of the future ever since. Ok, enough with the history lesson, let’s break down Rask’s game.  Since Tim Thomas was the starting goalie in Boston the last time I scouted the B’s, Rask gets the full format.  General style, strengths, weaknesses and how the Rangers should approach the matchup.  Here we go… General style From an overall ability standpoint, Rask is quietly becoming an elite tender in the NHL.  I had him at #19 in my pre-season rankings and he will definitely be moving up that list for next season. The thing with Rask is that he is a jack-of-all-trades types goaltender, with no standout tool, but his whole game is well above-average.  He has size (6’2”), but he doesn’t play a particularly blocking-oriented style, he has quickness and quality technique (though not the technical marvels that Jon Quick or Henrik Lundqvist are) and an above-average ability to handle the puck (but he’s no Marty Brodeur). What this adds up to is a high-quality goaltending package that can adapt to any system and be successful facing 20 shots or 40 shots per game. Strengths As mentioned above, individual strengths are hard to come by with Rask, since he does everything well.  However, the biggest factors to his success have been four-fold: poise, vision, compete level and positioning.  He maintains a very calm demeanor in net, and aside from a few outcome oriented displays of emotion, he doesn’t get too rattled. Rask also sees the play develop better than most NHL goalies.  He has the ability to make in game adjustments to offensive systems and different looks on both the transition and special teams.  He also sees the puck well through traffic and maintains solid body position, even when craning his neck to look around screens in front. While being the apprentice of Tim Thomas could have lead to some bad (re: absurd) habits forming, the only tangible stylistic characteristic Rask took from Thomas was his unmatched ability to battle for pucks.  Rask never gives up on a play, and has been known to break from his technical style to make saves unconventionally.  Generally speaking, though, he is very technically sound. Finally, his positioning is amongst the best in the NHL.  He rarely seems to get beat from off-angles and his save techniques leave him in quality position to handle second and third chances.  He uses concise butterfly slides to move around the net-mouth on in-close chances, limiting his exposure along the ice itself. Weakness This section is tough to round out, since Rask has no real weaknesses in the traditional sense.  There are some circumstantial weaknesses that could be exploited, however.  If you are looking from a Luongo to Holtby scale for blocking versus reflexive style, Rask lies almost exactly in the middle.  He wears relatively small equipment and his style does not really lend itself to maximizing surface area or walling up on scrambles in front. His movement can create holes, and his lack of oversized gear somewhat exacerbates this problem.  He is prone to deflection goals and holes can be found between his arms and between his pads and gloves. (Good news for Rick Nash) Not necessarily a weakness, but I couldn’t write this entire post without mentioning that god-awful bucket Rask wears.  That thing makes Hank’s masks look classy and understated, which is a tall order. How the Rangers should approach the matchup This matchup will most likely be dictated by the Rangers game-plan against the five Bruins in front of Rask, rather than Rask himself.  The goal is pretty much the same as it has always been; possess the puck, try to work the puck to the front of the net and create some space low in the zone. Trying to get some pucks through from the point would also help the Rangers’ cause against Boston, as well as having a strong net-front presence for rebounds and low lateral passes. Rask presents a tough challenge for the Rangers, but considering the way Braden Holtby played in the previous series, I don’t expect Rask to be measurably better.  He will still be a handful, though.  But, as with pretty much any series the Rangers play in, I believe they still have a strong advantage between the pipes. Tweet
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

With Bruins hurting, team recalls defenseman Krug

   (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) BOSTON--  According to a report from DJ Bean of WEEI’s Big Bad blog,  the Bruins announced on Tuesday that they recalled defenseman Torey Krug from Providence. General manager Peter Chiarelli made the announcement, but did not offer any additional information about other player injuries. Wade Redden and Andrew Ference missed Tuesday’s series...

Brad Marchand ‘Fine,’ Will Play Thursday Night Despite Morning Skate Incident, Says Claude Julien

Crisis averted. Bruins head coach Claude Julien told the media that winger Brad Marchand, who left Thursday’s morning skate “wincing in pain” after what appeared to be an injury, will be playing in Game 1 against the Rangers on Thursday night. “He’ll be fine. He’ll be out there [Thursday night],” Julien explained. According to reporters Matt Kalman and Joe McDonald...

Here's Crazy Jack Edwards' call of the Bruins Game 7 OT winner

When the Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs in overtime on Patrice Bergeron's goal, completing an epic Game 7 comeback in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, my first thought was this: I wonder if Jack Edwards survived. The Bruins play by play man is a little crazy (he even admits to that in his Twitter bio) and a Hawk Harrelson level homer.  Sometimes his craziness...

Tuukka Rask Feeds Joffrey Lupul A Blocker Sandwich In Game 7

Things got a bit testy towards the ends of the second period in the Bruins-Leafs Game 7 in Boston, with both teams getting in each others’ faces. Tuukka Rask didn’t take too kindly to Joffrey Lupul intruding into his personal space and decided to let that be known via a nice blocker sandwich right to the grillmix. Zdeno Chara provided the desert with a glove to the face of his...

Jack Edwards Goes Bizerk After Bruins Score OT Goal (Video)

Check out Andy Brickley stay all calm and composed fixing his jacket well Jack Edwards goes insane in the booth after Patrice Bergeron scored in OT of Game 7 to give the Bruins the series against the Maple Leafs. I guess all we can really say here is thats just “Jack being Jack”… one of a kind

McQuaid a finalist for Masterson Trophy

Photo courtesy of Boston Bruins BOSTON—According to a report from  Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid has been named a finalist for the Bill Masterson Trophy, which is awarded to the National Hockey League  player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” Forward Sidney Crosby of...

Boston Strong Boston Bruins

Game seven will go down in Boston lore Glory Days Grill is a popular chain of sports bars in the Maryland/DC area and for the longest time the one in Burke, Virginia could not have been a more depressing place. On one hand, Washington was getting blown out in their own game seven on home ice and this happens to be in Washington territory. The other side of things is that a small...

Leafs lose heartbreaker to Bruins, eliminated from the playoffs

Shock, confusion, and heartbreak. That’s how the Toronto Maple Leafs season ended Monday night during Game Seven of their first round match-up against the Boston Bruins.Up 4-1 with less than eleven minutes left in the third period, it seemed almost certain that the Leafs were about to upset the Boston Bruins and move onto the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But, somehow...

Bergeron: Selke Trophy Finalist

CBS SportsPatrice Bergeron, probably the MVP of the Bruins this season, has been named one of the three finalists for the Selke Trophy, the award given to the best defensive forward in the league. Bergeron will try to defend his title against two other stellar players in Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks.As we all know, Bergeron...

Milan Lucic gives Dion Phaneuf a post-game hand shake in the wrong spot

Milan Lucic, obviously excited over the Bruins' epic Game 7 come back against the Maple Leafs, shook something other than Dion Phaneuf's hand in the post-game.

Rangers @ Bruins (Game 1)

The New York Rangers visit the Boston Bruins at TD Garden for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals match-up starting at 7:30 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports. Rangers Game Notes TV: NBCSN; Radio: Bloomberg Radio (AM 1130), XM 92 Live Stream (Don't click on ads in stream, may download virus): http://www.firstrow1.eu/watch/186833/1/watch-boston-bruins...

Humble Pie Taste SOOOOOOOOOO Good. BRUINS...WIN!??!

We still don't know what the hell happened. When the Bruins went down 4-1 we wanted to grab a box of kittens and punch each one in the face. (PURRGERON NOTE: I hope Jon loses both of his testicles for that comment) The Bruins we had seen for the last month of the regular season and through much of this series could not, and according to their attitude on the ice, would not...

Rangers-Bruins Preview

Putting the puck past Henrik Lundqvist is a huge challenge for the Boston Bruins. Of course, they have to get it to him first and that's a tough task against the shot-blocking New York Rangers. ''They're definitely going to be laying down to block those shots,'' Boston forward Patrice Bergeron said after practice for Thursday night's series opener. ...

Boston Bruins play by play that makes your heart pump - must see!

By now, if you've not heard about the Boston Bruins historic game 7 comeback, you're living under a rock. As you probably know, my forte is writing about the Boston Celtics. However, this video was a heart moving, passionate and exciting moment in Boston sports history that I feel deserves your attention. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...   (via Sean Bakke)
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.