Originally written on Blue Seat Blogs  |  Last updated 9/24/14
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

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in prison

Mike Pettine considered benching Hoyer for Manziel

Percy Harvin speaks out: 'I'm not a perfect person'

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

Red Sox may be ready to move Yoenis Cespedes

Alleged details of War Machine's suicide letter released


Austin Davis says Rams security didn't recognize him

LeBron: Bulls are 'much better' than Cavs right now

Redskins to stick with Colt McCoy over Kirk Cousins

Rick Pitino: Louisville will beat FSU in football

Report: Rams considered favorites to move to LA

Kobe to Julius Randle: You’re an idiot if you (expletive) this up

WATCH: Boxer viciously attacks referee at Euro Championships

WATCH: Salvador Perez hassles Lorenzo Cain at media session

Lane Kiffin trashed in Tennessee political ad

WATCH: Lawrence Timmons throws up on field during MNF

10 NBA players who could be traded by the All-Star break

WATCH: Jimbo Fisher gets annoyed, cuts interview short

WATCH: Les Miles has classic reaction to dumb question

WATCH: Tennessee coach tried to trip Ole Miss player?

News station congratulates Gary Payton for breaking TD record

Did Sidney Crosby troll Flyers fans with Halloween costume?

Why Dan Mullen is not leaving Mississippi State

12 amazing stats from Week 7

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!

Pistorius sentenced to five years

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

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

Company Info
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.