BOSTON (CBS) — Tuukka Rask is an extremely sound and technical goaltender, so we don’t see too many jaw-dropping, highlight-reel stops by the Bruins netminder. But when he does make them, boy are they fun to watch.
Rask submitted his entry for “Save of the Year” early in the third period of Thursday night’s 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, making a lunging stop on a power play bid by Evan Rodrigues. Making the save even more impressive is that Rask didn’t have a stick, and he made the save with his blocker-side hand.
You read that correctly. Rask made the sprawling stop without a stick, and he didn’t even use the giant glove on his left hand.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 22, 2019
The play started with Rask making a point-blank save on Buffalo’s Conor Sheary with the butt of his stick, which he lost in the ensuing scramble in front of the net. The puck slid out to the left circle, where Rodrigues was ready to pounce. Luckily for the Bruins, so Rask was ready as well.
The net was wide open for Rodrigues for a split second, but the Boston netminder showed off his cat-like reflexes and snagged the wrister with his right paw. He took what looked like a sure goal off the board, a momentous save with Boston holding on to a 3-1 advantage.
Even Rask had a tough time explaining the stop after Boston escaped with a 3-2 victory.
“I was tracking it. I’m not making a reactionary save at that point,” said Rask. “It’s just you’re in a scramble mode and, luckily, I was in a position where I could throw myself in there. That’s one of those that sometimes it hits you and sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t think I’ve made a save like that with my blocker, so that was great.
“I don’t make highlights too often like that because I try to be in position to make saves,”he continued. “It’s fun to make a save like that. It’s just one of those instinct saves. You’re tracking it and then you see that you’ve got to do something and it hits you.”
Rask was stellar in net for Boston, making 36 saves overall. He currently sits second in the NFL with a 2.05 goals against average and is fourth with a .931 save percentage.