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Cup finals questions: Which goalie will stay the hottest?

Jun 11, 2013, 12:49 PM EST

Tuukka Rask Getty Images

Seeing goalies take center stage in the Stanley Cup finals isn’t really a new development. Last year we saw Jonathan Quick stymie everyone on his way to winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Three of the last seven Conn Smythe winners have been goalies, including the past two years in a row.

This year figures to be no different with both Boston’s Tuukka Rask and Chicago’s Corey Crawford roaring into the finals on a tear.

Rask’s Herculean effort in stopping the Penguins holding the league’s top offense to just two goals in four games is the kind of thing legends are made of. His .986 save percentage over the four-game sweep has made people in Boston completely forget about what Tim Thomas did back in 2011.

Crawford, on the other hand, was outstanding in his own right in stopping the defending champion Los Angeles Kings in five games. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said Crawford is “doing it all” for the team and he’s not one known to joke around.

source: Getty ImagesSo who stays hot in the finals? It’s tough to ignore what Rask has done and while we might normally wonder if he can stop Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and Marian Hossa… He just got done shutting down Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, and Kris Letang. So much for the easy question. If he continues at the same level he was in the Eastern Conference finals, it’s tough to see how Chicago breaks through.

Crawford did well to survive Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, and Dustin Brown in the last round and already survived Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Will he be able to handle Brad Marchand‘s nose for the net or Milan Lucic threatening to blow through the crease while David Krejci tries to find holes? That could be all up to how guys like Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook handle business in front of him.

As for what Vegas thinks, they’re leaning on Crawford and the Hawks to stay on course for the Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup. Would you want to call Rask and the Bruins an underdog at this point?

For more 2013 Cup finals questions, click here.

 

  1. pastabelly - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Marchand’s “nose” for the net. Pun intended? :)

  2. myspaceyourface - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    There was like a invisible Jedi force field around the net for Rask in the last series. I don’t think that continues against the hawks.

    • jimmyjr406 - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      tuukka rask the forcefield around the net.

      the only thing that was invisible was crosby and malkin.

      and the bruins will do the same to sharp and kane and toews.

      hawks are about to get a healthy dose of some playoff defense.

      im expecting some overtime games.

      • adambballn - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:44 PM

        Something the Hawks are very used to… they won a ton of 1 goal games in the regular season. The Hawks were the top defensive team in the NHL in the regular season and just beat an LA team that dished out a lot of D. The difference this series is Boston will be the ones actually getting a heavy dose of defense for once; Pittsburgh, NY, and Toronto weren’t exactly bringing the D.

      • kovodisc - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        The same was being said about the Rangers’ D when that series started. Rangers D this, and Rangers D that. Well…we all know what happened there.

        All talk right now is just that – talk.

        This will be the first time a Western and Eastern conference teams face-off against each other this year. There is zero familiarity between the two clubs. You can tout their D all you want (just as a B’s fan could do the same thing about their D – only to a further extent after absolutely SHUTTING DOWN pitt) but no one knows what to expect!

        If there’s one thing we can count on during these playoffs, it’s that NOTHING can be counted on.

      • stratomaticfan - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        If the B’s offense can beat Lundqvist, they can beat Crawford. Low scoring. Hard hitting. Playoff’s at it’s best. Good luck, ‘Hawks….you’re gonna need it.

  3. jimmyjr406 - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    regular season talk doesnt count now. ask the pens.

  4. dboldave - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    I have a hunch that fans of the Bruins will say Rask and fans of the Hawks will say Crawford!

  5. rogersjd16 - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    “His .986 save percentage over the four-game sweep has made people in Boston completely forget about what Tim Thomas did back in 2011.”

    Uh, not at all. Actually all we’re hearing are comparisons to Thomas and 2011. And rightfully so. Though we need to see Rask do it for one more series!

    Would have been more accurate to say “His .986 save percentage over the four-game sweep has made people in Boston completely forget about what Tim Thomas did back in 2012, shunning the President and completely walking out on his teammates to play activist and hug trees in Colorado.”

  6. tripps3 - Jun 11, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    No brainer – Crawford. He has proven himself over a presidents cup year as well as besting both Howard and Quick.

  7. tripps3 - Jun 11, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    And yes, BOS fans, I know Rask swept the Penguins…..

  8. tru2joelu4eva - Jun 11, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    is it worth noting that the last two conn smythe winners, two goaltenders, are also american?

  9. hawksin5 - Jun 11, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    So the way I see it is Chicago has the better offense. Kane, toews, Hossa, sharp > lucic, Marchand, Bergeron, seguin. Granted Boston’s offense is still very good, statistics agree there. Chara is the best Dman that is going to step out on the ice but with the exception of him, Chicago with Keith, seabrook, hjalmarsson (who’s been playing out of his mind), and oduya are the better defensive team, stats there again to back that up. Goaltending…ok Boston definitely has this one, there’s times when crawford stands on his head, and wins games and then there’s times you just want to throw something at your TV. to special teams, Chicago SUCKS on the PP but is the best in the league on the PK. Boston will shut Chicago down when Chicago is on the pp, but because it has been so bad for the hawks all season, that won’t matter as they haven’t relied on their pp and have done well without it. Boston pp is strong as is their pk. But hawks PK will be hard for Boston to solve. Boston played a GREAT series against Pitt. However I don’t know why everyone gets such a hard on for Pitt. Their defense and goaltending has been, and still is, atrocious. Although Boston D absolutely shut down Pitts offense, I have to sy there was something off with Crosby and malkins games. Either way, tons of props to Boston on such an ass kicking. There is nobody in the west like Boston and they are going to give the hawks one hell of a series. Hawks in 6-7

  10. 24/7 Hockey - Jun 11, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    Would be hard to bet against Rask for this one. He let up 2 goals over a 4 game span against arguably the greatest offense in the game. Pittsburgh hasn’t been shut out before the series since Feb of 2012 and he shut them out twice! In 4 games! While Crawford played well against the akimgs he was nowhere near Rask’s level and was competing against a much less lethal Kings offense.

  11. acepylut - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Rask got an extremely good dose of luck against the Pens. Yes – LUCK. How many times did the Pens hit post? 8? 10? You think that if half of those went in, instead of none, we’d be talking about this? No.

    Simply put, Cr*wford didn’t need the goalposts to beat LA.

  12. foleysfish - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    I just have to say I never thought this would happen. I am a die hard Hawks Fan to the grave but the team I always have followed and considered my 2nd fav team is now facing them in the Finals. Both teams are so much alike its really going to be a great series. They both play team Defense and in my opinion they are the only teams in the NHL that there top offensive guys play D and back check like they are D men. The coaches beat it into there brains that the defense creates the scoring chances. The blue Lines are the best in league for the last 5 years. Chara & Keith should have been both up for the Norris. I’m sorry but Subban and Letang can’t touch either of them and what they do for there teams. Toews & Bergeron are best all around Forwards in the NHL. The Goalies both were the best in the league and should have both been in the running for the vezina. Both fan base are die hard hockey fans. We both cant stand Vancouver. I loved what the bruins did to them in the Finals. Nothing better than watching Burrows, Luongo, and the Sedin Sisters get what they had coming to them. I think as Hockey Fans these two fan bases can respect each other in the fact that we are a lot alike. This is going to be the best Finals in my lifetime and maybe ever. Unless one of these teams have a complete breakdown which I really would doubt it. It will be some unbelievable Hockey for 7 games and a lot of OT. As who has a edge it’s really hard to say. I want to go with my Hawks but its really going to come down to who plays to there potential. Both teams keep getting better every series. I think it comes down to if the Hawks top guys getting on a role. The Hawks still haven’t played to there potential with those top guys at there best. If that happens the Hawks will win. Boston is playing there best hockey all year. I don’t know if they have another level and if they even need one. If the Bruins can beat the Hawks penalty Kill then they win. I can’t wait to see what happens. GO HAWKS

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