WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The adulation from the scouting community bestowed upon Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask dates back to before he was a first-round draft pick (No. 21) of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2005.
And although the native of Finland, who's now 26 years old, has mostly fulfilled the prophecies of his eventual greatness in the NHL, it can sometimes be easy to forget that behind the Bruins' perennially stingy team defense waits one of the premier goaltenders in the League.
The Bruins pride themselves on making hefty shot totals and mouth-watering scoring chances against them as rare as clear roads leaving Boston at rush hour. So although Rask led the League in goals-against average (1.97) and save percentage (.931) as a rookie in 2009-10 and then carried the Bruins to within two wins of the Stanley Cup last season with a 1.88 GAA and .940 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Rask can get lost on the list of Bruins' driving forces behind Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Zdeno Chara, Selke Trophy-winning center Patrice Bergeron and others.