History isn’t exactly on Tuukka Rask’s side going into the Stanley Cup Final.
Now, let’s be clear here — Rask has been nothing short of dominant this postseason, leading all netminders with a .942 save percentage over 17 games played.
The B’s goalie has especially excelled when it comes to negating high-danger scoring chances, pacing all playoff performers with a .918 save percentage on those quality looks. Add in 6.93 goals saved above average rate (once again, tops among all goalies), and Rask has been nearly impervious during Boston’s run to the Cup.
But Rask and the Bruins’ utter dominance against the Hurricanes during the Eastern Conference Final very well could work to their disadvantage going into the fourth and final round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Blues.
Following their sweep of the ‘Canes, the Bruins are in the midst of the longest break for a club going into the Cup Final during the salary cap era — with 11 days standing between Boston in Game 1 at TD Garden on May 27.
Rask has been locked in for the past five weeks, but even Bruce Cassidy was quick to note that the risk of rust forming is always the top fear when it comes to an extended layoff for a goalie.
“Clearly, we'd love to run him right back out there,” Boston’s head coach said. “The whole group, to be honest with you. We'll talk to him too, as well. He knows what's in front of him, he's been around. He's a good pro.
"He'll have to kind of figure out for himself how to get dialed in each day so that come next Monday he's at where he feels is 100 percent dialed in. Which, like I said, I don't even know if he'll have an easy answer for that either. It is what it is. You're off, so you're going to lose a bit of sharpness."
A longer break has historically not worked in favor of teams during the Stanley Cup Final — with 10 of the last 13 victors standing as clubs that had the shorter turnaround coming out of the conference final.
One of the primary factors in the misfortunes of teams coming out of a longer break in the Cup Final?
A drastic production drop in net.
Over the last eight Stanley Cup Finals,