After a tough Game 1, the Blues bounced back in a big way with an overtime win to even up the series. One of the biggest turning points in the game was Tarasenko’s game-tying goal. The goal kept the Bruins from running away with the game and gave the Blues that confidence they needed to win.
The key to that goal was Jaden Schwartz recognizing that his bad angle and beating Rask from that area with Chara and his long reach bearing down on him didn’t give him great odds. He chose instead to throw a bit of a change up on Rask, opting for a shot pass off Rask’s far pad resulting in a perfect rebound right to Tarasenko who buries it on his second chance.
Rask is tough enough to beat even without a bad angle. His numbers through the playoffs are putting him on a path that could end in a Conn Smythe trophy so beating him 1 on 1 isn’t the most ideal situation.
Shooting for a rebound was still a bold move since out of the 17 goalies who started a game in these playoffs, Rask has the 5th best rebound percentage. He’s only giving up a rebound on 60% of the shots he faces. Schwartz sells it like he’s shooting to score but then snaps off a quick shot that doesn’t give Rask enough time to deflect it out of danger.
Tarasenko eventually finishes off the play chipping the puck up over a sprawled Rask into the top half of the net. While I’m sure it wasn’t something he was thinking about when he shot, this is another interesting aspect of this series. In the two games, Rask has allowed 5 goals against, 4 of them beating him high-blocker. Here’s another example of just that.
It might not have been the eventual game-winner but Tarasenko’s goal was a huge moment for the Blues, helping them keep pace with the Bruins. Without Schwartz’s outstanding poise with the puck, they don’t score that goal and possibly don’t leave Boston with the series tied at 1.
(Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)