By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins won Game 2 against the Capitals in overtime, thus saving Boston from full-blown Tuukka Pandemonium for the next two days.
This is Boston, though, so there still be a bit of a Rask Ruckus, or some Tuukka Tumult, or some Netminder Ire, or whatever frivolous way you’d like to describe it.
People get a little silly about the goaltender here.
For this game, Rask stopped 36 of the 39 shots sent his way, earning the second star of the night. Whether Rask allowed three or 30 goals on Monday night, the big key was winning the game. The Bruins did that, and their series vs. Washington is now tied at 1-1.
As for the three goals, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was asked to assess Rask’s play after the win. Here’s what Cassidy said about each of them. I’ll connect a dot or two, use some poetic license, and bring back the world-famous scale of goaltender evaluation from a 2015 story about Rask. That scale ranks the fault of the goalie for the goal allowed, ranked from 5 (“An AHL Goalie Would Have Saved It”) to 0 (“Nobody Could Have Saved It”). That scale is relevant because a grade of 3 was described as “Craig Anderson Would Have Saved It.” Anderson was, as I termed it back then, “Mr. Average NHL Goaltender.”
Everybody’s been waiting for this scale to return. It’s finally back.
First Goal: Scored by T.J. Oshie on the power play, assisted by Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson
Blame Scale: 0 out of 5
THE TIP MASTER STRIKES AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/LSDIvFN3CN
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 17, 2021
The Mike Sorrentino (The Situation, come on, do I have to explain everything?): This goal was certainly deflating, as it erased a 1-0 advantage for Boston. It came after David Pastrnak was sent to the penalty box for holding, and it came just 12 seconds into Washington’s power play — a blunt reminder of how important it is for the Bruins to not give unnecessary man advantages to the Capitals.
Cassidy’s Comments: “I mean, the high tip, no chance at all. ”
Second Goal: Scored by Garnet Hathaway, assisted by Dmitry Orlov and Lars Eller
Blame Scale: 3 out of 5 … because Craig Anderson truly would have saved it
WHAT IS LOVE?!!! pic.twitter.com/K0ziWZmpOa
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 18, 2021
The Mike Sorrentino: Patrice Bergeron got the lead back for the Bruins less than three minutes after that Oshie goal, but the Bruins lost the lead on this bizarre leaker that burrowed its way through seven bodies en route to the net. Rask obviously couldn’t have seen the puck, but as he stood tall to try look through the traffic, he left his five-hole open just enough to let the puck through.
Cassidy’s Comments: “I don’t know how it went in. It rattled around. Unfortunate. There’s been a few of those in each of the first two games. So obviously we’d like to see him tighten up on those ones.”
Once again, fair commentary from Cassidy. The man is fair.
Third Goal: Scored by Garnet Hathaway, assisted by Dmitry Orlov and Carl Hagelin
Blame Scale: 1 out of 5 (A Goalie Playing At A Vezina-Level Could Have Saved It)
HOW SWEET IS THAT??? pic.twitter.com/v003xaEcOX
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 18, 2021
The Mike Sorrentino: This one stung. Locked in a 2-2 tie, on the road, down 1-0 in the series, desperately needing a win, this one looked like it might be a back-breaker. Kevan Miller made a terrible decision to try to contest Carl Hagelin along the wall in the neutral zone, immediately giving up a 2-on-1. Rask did his best to fly post-to-post, but at that point, it’s essentially a desperation move, with the hope that the puck finds your body somewhere. It did not. Hathaways’s shot wasn’t perfect, but it made it juuuust past Rask’s outstretched glove en route to going top shelf for the go-ahead goal.
Cassidy’s Comments: “The 2-on-1, we didn’t defend it well enough.”
Once again, the man is fair.
“At the end of the day, he certainly played well, gave us a chance to win,” Cassidy said. “The game was always close. You don’t want it to get away from you. I thought both goalies were good. I thought their guy was excellent, too. But we were one better.”
Cassidy gave Rask credit for being “under siege” early on, noting he made some big saves early on.
Tuukka Rask with a huge stop on the Dowd breakaway: pic.twitter.com/KKoJgoQ9Ey
— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) May 17, 2021
Fortunately for the sanity of most people in Boston who don’t care to hear hysteria about the goaltender for the next two days, there are no other goals to evaluate. Thanks to an absolutely clutch zero-save performance in overtime by Rask, the Bruins won the game. (Brad Marchand’s picture-perfect one-timer inside the near post also helped in that regard.)
Those in the media and fan base who for some reason feel compelled to push for Jeremy Swayman in net won’t be seeing their fantasy come true any time soon. Cassidy doesn’t seem to be the least bit concerned about his No. 1 goaltender. And arguably more importantly, the ever-scientific Blame Scale had Rask down for a cumulative grade of 1.3 out of 5 in this particular victory. That’s an improvement from his unofficial 1.7 grade in Game 1, and it’s indicative that he has been good through 125 minutes of an extremely tight playoff series.