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Rask was huge, but the penalty kill was the Bruins’ other MVP

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It was a weakness early in the series, but saved the day late.

Boston Bruins v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Six Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Earlier in this series, I remember writing a post that I won’t re-hash, but will try to summarize: the Blue Jackets are only scoring on mistakes or the power play, so if the Bruins can clean those areas up, they’ll be fine.

After Game 3, that may have looked like a pie-in-the-sky optimistic take, but it looks alright now, eh?

The main reason the Bruins won this series was that Tuukka Rask was the better goalie. The secondary reason? The Bruins’ penalty kill stepped up when it mattered.

It’s funny, because the two are obviously related: Rask made some monster saves on the penalty kill that bailed his teammates out.

But while the Bruins had their issues with clearing the zone on the PK in this series (even tonight), they were able to put it together when it mattered.

The big names, like Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron up front or Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo in the back, were huge, but the grinders were enormous as well. Guys like Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom played the gritty type of PK game you need to succeed in the playoffs.

Columbus scored 11 goals in this series, 3 of which came on the power play (and 2 or 3 more of which came off of egregious mistakes). It may seem like a “duh” hot take to say that if a team doesn’t score on the PP, it can’t win, but in Columbus’ case, the numbers add up.

How did Columbus’ PP do?

  • In Games 2 and 3 (both wins): 3 for 7
  • In Games 1, 4, 5 and 6 (all losses): 0 for 14

Rask obviously played a big part on that o-fer, but his teammates deserve some credit too.

In a series where their PP frequently let them down, the Bruins’ PK did a lot of the heavy lifting.