By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Throughout his career, fiery head coach John Tortorella could have been accused of being in a mood from time to time. His current mood has apparently inspired him to make some bold statements.
Less than 48 hours after guaranteeing a Game 6 win for his Blue Jackets, Tortorella has now entered the business of assessing the status of opposing players.
Speaking to reporters Monday morning, hours before the puck drops on that guaranteed win, Tortorella said the Blue Jackets have finally cracked Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.
“I think one of the biggest points in our last game, in Game 5, is that we dented their goalie. I think that was very important,” Tortorella said, acknowledging that the Bruins dented Columbus’ goalie as well. “We’ve dented their goalie in that third period, which is very important going into Game 6.”
The Blue Jackets did get three goals past Rask late in Game 5, but “dented” might not be the most appropriate terminology. The first goal deflected off a Boston stick and required a three-plus-minute review in order to be put on the scoreboard. The second goal required a high-level top-shelf snipe, and the third came on a bomb of a one-timer from the high slot.
Outside of the puck-luck bounce on the first goal, the other two goals were much more about elite shots than they were about goaltending mishaps. And that’s really been the story of the series for Rask, who’s required the Blue Jackets to score with either perfect shots or on deflections since Game 1. On the other end, despite a plethora of incredible saves made, Sergei Bobrovsky has let up his fair share of shaky goals throughout this series — most recently by lifting his own pad after a weak shot from David Krejci and by not reacting whatsoever to a wrist shot from David Pastrnak for a couple of significant goals in Game 5.
With his .936 save percentage and 2.02 goals-against average this series, Rask is likely not feeling “dented.” Nevertheless, Tortorella made sure to reiterate his statement before closing out his press conference.
“As I said, we have I think two of the best goalies in the playoffs playing against one another here. [The Bruins] have found a way to score some goals with their top guys. We have gotta find a way to score some goals with our guys,” Tortorella said. “But the biggest thing is I think we put a dent in Rask coming into Game 6 here. And that’s so important for offensive people.”
We’ll see just how big of a dent the Blue Jackets made once Game 6 begins Monday night.