With the Boston Bruins sitting just four points out of first place overall in the Eastern Conference entering Monday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and all but assured a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs, one key component to the team’s recent success has been goalie Tuukka Rask. After a slow start in which he went 3-8-2 with a 2.85 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage, the Finnish net minder is 27-3-2 with a 2.05 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage, and three shutouts in his last 33 games entering last night.
The 2013-2014 Vezina Trophy winner, who on Saturday earned his 30th win of the season, now has amassed 30 wins in each of his last five season with the Bruins. That’s the most seasons by a Boston net minder in team history, with two-time Vezina winner Tim Thomas accomplishing the feat four times. Additionally, with 234 career wins, Rask is also now just 18 behind former Boston goalie Tiny Thompson for the most wins in team history.
With just a handful of spring training games left to play, the Boston Red Sox are less than two weeks from opening the season against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. While there will be plenty of returning players from last year’s division winner, one new face will be slugger J.D. Martinez, who signed as a free agent with Boston shortly after the Grapefruit Season began.
The seven-year veteran has a career split of .285/.342/.514 coupled with 152 home runs and a 130 OPS+. In 2017, he split time between Detroit and Arizona, pacing the latter with 29 home runs and a 1.107 OPS to lead the Diamondbacks to the postseason for the first time since 2011. Although used primarily in his career as an outfielder, with the Red Sox already boasting one of Major League Baseball’s best outfields in Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts, Martinez will be used primarily as the team’s designated hitter, a role that was in flux for most of 2017 after the departure of David Ortiz.