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Comparing Tuukka Rask’s two Conference Final sweeps

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Two trips, zero losses. NOT BAD.

Boston Bruins v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Four Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

To say it’s been a sweet spring for Tuukka Rask would be a pretty significant understatement. The oft-maligned (by some, at least) goalie has been stellar for the Bruins, seeming to get better as the playoffs roll on.

While they have enough offense and a good enough defense to get the job done with average goaltending, the Bruins are likely going to go as far as Rask can take them over the next few weeks.

The funniest part? He’s done this before.

Back in 2013, the Bruins also swept their way into the Stanley Cup Final.

That series was a 4-0 thrashing of a loaded Pittsburgh Penguins team, with the Bruins tossing Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Company aside like they were an ECHL outfit.

Rask was excellent in that series as well, so it bears wondering: which Conference Final sweep was better?

Goals allowed

2013: 2

2019: 5

2 goals. 2!!!! TWO!!! That’s a stellar number in any four-game stretch, let alone against a Conference Finalist. The 2013 Bruins defense shutting down that edition of the Penguins remains one of the more ridiculous happenings in recent NHL playoff history.

Save percentage

2013: .986

2019: .955

Generally, it’s better to look at the more detailed save percentage numbers; but for something high-level like this, we’ll just stick with the basics.

Again, 2013 takes the cake. Rask saved 98.6% of the shots the Penguins threw his way, a number that makes Rask’s 2019 effort look pedestrian in comparison.

Goals against average

2013: 0.44

2019: 1.25

Same caveat as above, we’re just sticking with the simpler stats. And once again, 2013 comes out on top. Why am I even bothering at this point?

Opponent

2013: 1st, 3.38 GPG

2019: 16th, 2.96 GPG

In this case, we’re taking a look at where the opponent ranked in terms of regular season offense, just to get an idea of how prolific (or not) each team was.

2013 wins again.


What does it all mean? Nothing, really. It’s off-day fodder. Rask’s 2013 performance has no bearing on what he’ll do in the 2019 Final.

It’s interesting, however, to note that Rask has now won a remarkable 8 consecutive Conference Final games. Weird for a guy that can’t win the big games.

If you’re the kind of person that believes in such things, maybe this is a good sign: Rask played better in the 2013 Conference Final, but lost the big one. Maybe playing slightly worse in the 2019 Conference Final will lead to the opposite of 2013’s end result.

That 2013 line will likely never be equaled, however: 4-0, 0.44, .986...yikes.