Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask has Hurricanes searching for answers on how to score on him

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Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney on Boston’s Tuukka Rask : ‘He was putting on a show tonight’

Carolina Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney addresses the media following the Hurricanes’ loss to Boston

Carolina Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney addresses the media following the Hurricanes’ loss to Boston

There’s a reason the Carolina Hurricanes have struggled to win against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Bruins’ goalie Tuuka Rask.

The 6-3, 176-pound goalie dominated the Canes on Tuesday night. He gave up one goal on 36 shots, and the Bruins beat the Hurricanes 2-1 to take a 3-0 series lead heading into Game 4 in Raleigh on Thursday.

“He’s definitely the difference maker,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Armour said. “You can feel it. There were a couple of (saves) in the second period, a couple of point blankers — I remember (Sebastian) Aho had one — really that should be in, and he makes the save.”

That’s what Rask did time and time again. He came up with crucial saves that likely won the game.

The Canes came out firing in the first period. They managed 20 shots on goal, but came away with nothing. Even when the Canes had a 5-on-3 power play, they couldn’t score. For the game, the Hurricanes went 0-for-5 on power plays.

When asked what makes Rask difficult to score on, Canes defenseman Justin Faulk, who was visibly frustrated, shrugged his shoulders.

“If I knew, I’d have a couple more goals on him,” Faulk said.

The Canes only goal was a Calvin de Haan goal in the second period, which he managed to get in between Rask’s legs and into the net.

“He just seems like he’s so calm in the net,” de Haan said. “Never fazed or out of position. He’s an elite goalie and you can only say good things about him.”

Rask has been tough to score on all season, and especially this series. His 11 playoff wins during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs leads all goalies, and his .939 save percentage is second only behind Canes’ goalie Curtis McElhinney.

Rask has given up five goals in the first three games of the series, and has the Bruins on the brink of eliminating the Canes and advancing the the Stanley Cup Finals.

“That lifts your team big time,” Brind’Armour said of Rask’s saves. “When you make them over and over on some real good grade As, that’s how you win.”