The St. Louis Blues threw everything they could at Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask during Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday night but it wasn’t anywhere near enough in what turned out to be a blowout 5-1 loss, sending the series back to Boston for a Game 7 on Wednesday night.
In a postseason where he has played at a Conn Smythe level from the very beginning, Rask played perhaps his best game of the year on Sunday night when his team needed him most.
He also got a little bit of help from a teammate in the second period.
With the Bruins killing off another penalty and trying to hold on to a 1-0 lead, a bouncing puck snuck behind Rask and seemed to be destined for the back of the net. It was at that point that Bruins defender Charlie McAvoy just happened to be in the right place, at the right time to knock the puck out of mid-air, helping to save a goal. Adding to the absurdity of the play is that once McAvoy knocked the puck away from the goal line, it hit Rask in the back where he pinned it against his body with his glove.
“It hit the post and then it was bouncing there,” said Rask after the game. “I think [McAvoy] hit it with his stick and I kind of heard it and I didn’t know where it was. I figured it might be somewhere behind me so I was trying to corral it with my hand behind my back and then it stuck in my pants and it fell somewhere. [McAvoy] made a great play to keep it out of the net originally. It’s never a good thing for a goalie to be [have your back] facing the play, but luckily it stayed out.”
A lot of things could have gone wrong there for the Bruins, and none of them did.
You can see the entire sequence in the video above.
McAvoy is one of the Bruins’ best offensive defensemen and an outstanding talent with the puck on his stick. But he is an outstanding all-around player and top-pairing defender and the defensive portion of his game was on display here at a huge moment.