Although the Boston Bruins’ 18-game points streak came to a halt on Tuesday night, there’s another outrageous streak that continued during Thursday’s 3-1 victory that is remarkably flying under the radar.
We are currently in Month 3 of the Tuukka Rask points streak.
Rask did not lose a game in regulation during the entire month of December. He also didn’t lose a game in regulation during the 74 days of January… oh there were only 31 days? Felt like it lasted forever, didn’t it? And now, after the first day of February, Rask still hasn’t lost in regulation.
This is a ridiculous clip for a guy who had to be benched for nearly two full weeks earlier this season. Remember back in early to mid November when Bruins Nation wanted Rask to be replaced permanently in net by B’s backup goalie Anton Khudobin? Yeah that sounds pretty comical right now. I mean who would even write an article clamoring/begging for the Bruins to pull the trigger and make the switch? That guy must not know what he’s talking about.
It’s just a coincidence that some of my articles have magically disappeared… I swear…
Rask’s last regulation defeat was on November 26th in a 4-2 home loss to the Edmonton Oilers. After that contest, Rask sat at 3-8-2 on the season with a lofty 2.91 GAA and a .899 save percentage. For comparison purposes, Khudobin was 7-0-2 during that same time frame, with a 2.22 GAA and a .932 save percentage – each of those hovered around the top 10 in the NHL for goaltenders.
Going nine games without a regulation loss seemed like a crazy stat, and most Bruins fans wanted to see more of Khudobin. So, for a four-game stretch, Rask sat on the bench while Khudobin was given a chance to take the reins of a team desperate for points. And those same fans thought Bruce Cassidy was nuts for going back to Rask as if nothing happened.
I mean, none of them thought they were ultimately smarter than the coach and the front office of the Bruins… hold on let me go check on some other stuff and not delete any other articles… give me a minute…
Since the end of November, Rask is 17-0-2 with an absurd 1.62 GAA, a .941 save percentage, and two shutouts. He’s allowed two goals or less in 16 of the 19 games he’s played, and he is 6-0-0 since giving up a season-high six goals in a 6-5 loss to the defending Stanley Cup champions the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 7th.
For the season, Rask is now 20-8-4 with the third-best GAA in the league among starting goalies (2.12 GAA), and he has crept into the Top 10 in wins with Thursday’s victory even though many of the goaltenders ahead of him have started in 7-10 more games than Rask.
With Thursday night’s win, Rask became the fourth goaltender in Bruins history to obtain at least one point in 19 consecutive contests.
One would think that by not suffering a loss in regulation in over two months, Rask would be at the center of the news in the NHL. Yet there isn’t a mention of him or his points streak on the NHL website, he wasn’t invited to the NHL All-Star Game (yet Carey Price with his 14-18-4 record and 3.00 GAA was on the Atlantic team), and he was overlooked for the Three Stars of the Month in January (he was First Star of the Month in December, but still… he didn’t lose in January either).
In my opinion, the surprising success of the Boston Bruins is the second-best story in the NHL this season – nothing compares to the magical season going down in Las Vegas – and it feels like no one is noticing them both in Boston and throughout the league. It makes sense that the B’s are being somewhat ignored at home due to the Patriots’ Super Bowl run, the Celtics leading the Eastern Conference, and the fact that the Bruins got off to a terrible start this season. There was a stretch at the beginning of the year where the B’s were basically the only game in town (except for Sundays), and unfortunately that coincided with the Bruins’ multitude of injuries and spotty play. If Boston vaulted out of the gate with a lengthy points streak, there would likely have been a bigger “buzz” around the team that would have likely continued into the Celtics’ outstanding season.
But a 19-game points streak from a goalie, and an 18-game points streak from the team should get the attention of not only the city of Boston but the entire league (and the sports world if anyone actually discussed or promoted the wonderful game of hockey).
As witnessed on Tuesday night, streaks are bound to end. And Tuukka Rask’s outstanding streak of points will ultimately come to an end at some point as well. My hope is that the absurdity of taking a points streak into its third month and maybe beyond will be fully appreciated before Rask finally takes an L, because even the most ardent Rask hater has to agree that he’s been a catalyst to the Bruins’ unlikely success this season.
Let’s just hope and pray I don’t need to go delete this article in a couple months…
Written by: Adam Belue (@albinomamba44)