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Rask Stands Tall Again, Reaches 50-Win Mark

Bruins netminder becomes third active goalie and 19th in history to accomplish that feat

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

ST. LOUIS - Tuukka Rask's sensational postseason continued on Sunday night, as he paced the Bruins to a do-or-die Game 6 victory with 28 saves against the St. Louis Blues.

The 5-1 win was the 50th of the 32-year-old's playoff career, making him the third active goalie (Henrik Lundqvist and Marc-Andre Fleury) and 19th in history to reach that mark. He accomplished the feat in the 10th-fewest amount of games (88).

"You don't get goaltending, you don't win very often," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said before the team left for Boston on Monday morning. "We're no different than anybody else. We need good goaltending."

In three elimination games this postseason (two vs. Toronto, one vs. St. Louis), Rask is 3-0 with a 1.34 goals against average and .953 save percentage.

"He certainly has in this playoffs," Cassidy said of Rask's ability to respond. "And so has their guy. It's why we're going to seven games. You've got good teams that have gone toe to toe here, but good for Tuukka. He's allowed us an opportunity to play in a Game 7."

Video: BOS@STL, Gm6: Rask makes 28 saves to backstop Bruins

Rask also had some help during Game 6. During the second period, with Boston ahead 1-0, Alex Pietrangelo's backhander rang off the post, hit off of Rask's back and was fluttering in the air when Charlie McAvoy stepped in and knocked the puck away with his stick.

"I saw the replay after…it hit the post and then it was kind of bouncing there and Chuckie hit it with his stick and I kind of heard it," said Rask. "I didn't know where it was. I figured it might be somewhere behind me, so I tried to corral it with my hand and behind my back and it tucked in my pants and fell somewhere.

"Chuckie made a great play to keep it out of the net originally. It's never a good thing for the goalie to be facing the play with your back, but luckily it stayed out."

Video: BOS@STL, Gm6: McAvoy bats puck off the goal line

Finding His Touch

Goals have been hard to come by for Brandon Carlo during his career. The 22-year-old has eight in 230 NHL games, including just two during 2018-19.

But in the Stanley Cup Final? The blue liner has become a goal-scoring machine.

Carlo has two goals in this series alone, including the eventual winner in Game 6. While it wasn't the prettiest of tallies - Carlo bounced a wrister in on Jordan Binnington from the right point - the marker proved crucial in the B's 5-1 victory.

And it isn't just the goals that have impressed Cassidy and his Carlo's teammates. The Colorado native has teamed up with Torey Krug to form a rock-solid defensive duo behind Zdeno Chara and McAvoy.

"Probably more," Cassidy said when asked if he's gotten everything he expected out of Carlo this postseason. "It's his first playoffs, he's a young guy. Didn't know what to expect, he's really grown his game. He's a good player, he has been in the regular season. But it's a different animal here. Brandon's really stepped up when we needed it.

"I think him and Torey, you could make an argument that they've been our best, most consistent pair. Zee and Charlie obviously take tough matchups, but so do they. Most teams have two good lines. There's an argument back and forth there.

"We're happy to have all four…Brandon's actually chipping in some goals as well. You need that this time of year. I know it was a lucky bounce, but those are great stories."

Video: BOS@STL, Gm6: Carlo tallies on bouncing puck

Oh, Baby

It's going to be a busy few days for Torey Krug - and not just because of Game 7. Krug's wife, Mel, is due with the couple's first child in just over a week.

"She's getting a little nervous here," Krug said on Monday morning. "It's been fun. To be honest, family is the most important thing in this world for sure. It's kind of allowed me to relax and just play hockey. Obviously worried and excited and nervous with all that comes with your first kid.

"Getting ready to go at home with that one. Just been able to show up to the rink and do my job and play hockey with not too much stress."

Video: Torey Krug looking forward to Game 7 in Boston

Making History

For the first time in the 95-year history of the franchise, the Bruins will host a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final. It is the first home Game 7 in Boston sports since the Celtics hosted the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1984 NBA Finals.

"Obviously someone's gonna win the Stanley Cup, so it's gonna be an exciting game," said Brad Marchand. "There's gonna be a lot of energy around it, but we want to try and focus and do what we've done all year, which is prepare and try to play the same game.

"We're not gonna get caught up in the excitement of it, we're just gonna try to prepare and focus the same way we did today."

The Bruins' last Cup Final Game 7 came in 2011 - also the last time any Cup Final went the distance - when the Black & Gold captured their sixth title with a 4-0 win over the Canucks in Vancouver.

"It's very exciting," said Rask. "A lot of us have been in the finals a couple times, we haven't had a chance to have a clinching game at home. Obviously the city will be behind us."

With all of the hoopla surrounding a Game 7, when it comes to family, friends, tickets, etc., plenty of distractions can creep in. As such, Cassidy hopes that his players take guidance from the veteran core that has been through it all before.

"I think today is your opportunity to do that," said Cassidy. "We're off, fly home. I'm sure guys will take care of whatever business they have to today…and then you're back to work tomorrow. Our guys have been good at that."

Video: Johansson looking forward to Game 7

Up in the Air

Matt Grzelcyk, who has not played since Game 2, has yet to be medically cleared and remains in protocol. Cassidy is not sure if the blue liner's status will change ahead of Game 7.

"Who knows how it will play out Wednesday…Grzelcyk is a wild card," said Cassidy. "We'll have to make a decision if he gets cleared. He's missed some games now. Do we want to mess with the back end?"

Thoughts for Papi

Upon the team's return to Boston on Monday afternoon, Cassidy met with the media and offered his thoughts to Red Sox legend David Ortiz, who was seriously injured in a shooting in his native Dominican Republic on Sunday night.

"I wish him well and a speedy recovery," said Cassidy. "Hopefully he's back to health in a hurry."

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