Tuukka Rask's impressive playoff numbers took a hit in Game 4

Chicago Blackhawks center Michal Handzus celebrates his first period goal with teammate Brandon...

Chicago Blackhawks center Michal Handzus celebrates his first period goal with teammate Brandon Saad as Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask takes a drink during Game Wednesday. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:51 PM ET

BOSTON - His playoff save percentage dropped five full points in one night.

The six pucks the Chicago Blackhawks put past Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask in Game 4 matched the total he had surrendered in the previous five games combined.

So did the Finnish goaltender and former Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick feel he had an off night as the Hawks evened the best-of-seven Stanley Cup final at two wins apiece?

Not in his world.

"Every goal is stoppable, but I don't think there were any weak ones," Rask said Thursday when asked to review his performance the night prior, a 6-5 overtime loss at the TD Garden. "Mistakes piled up and I wasn't able to bail our guys out. Sometimes you do and sometimes you don't."

Rask was, for the most part, correct in his assessment -- other than being unable to resist the urge to toss his teammates part way under the bus. It was indeed a sloppy night for those in front of him and in his own ability to corral rebounds with his usually reliable hand.

"They got chances and they got the rebounds, too," Rask continued. "I tried to control everything, but sometimes it doesn't happen. I just think everybody has to play better.

"Our own guys became screens on some occasions and then they had their guy in front, too. And when that happens, it's sometimes tougher to find those pucks and control the rebounds and that's what happened."

So there you have it: The old goalie bailout that you can't stop what you can't see.

In some ways, Rask's evaluation is refreshing. But when you let in six goals, it's not all about rebound control and defensive breakdowns. Surely a couple of the six were stoppable.

The first goal ended a shutout streak of more than 129 minutes. Once they hit six in overtime, Game 4 became the highest scoring game these playoffs.

To be fair, the game-winner was a tough one -- a slapshot from the point with Hawks captain Jonathan Toews and Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara providing a big wall. On another, Chara, who was minus-3 and might have had his worst game of the playoffs, was sprawled on his stomach in the corner.

It's been interesting to observe and participate in the running commentary around both goalies in this series.

Corey Crawford has a big effort in Game 1 and the big story the next day is how he has to be considered as a potential Canadian Olympian. That he seems incapable of getting a glove on a puck since has quieted all banter.

A Game 3 shutout for Rask drove storylines his way, with many noting he’s every bit as competent as Tim Thomas was in the Bruins Cup win in 2011. And on it goes.

Whether Rask wanted to take much of his share or not, he was certainly facing a tougher assignment in Game 4 than he had earlier in the series. The Hawks were able to get much more traffic in front of him but also were quick to get around the Bruins defence.

Then there was an issue with the pace of the game, the frenetic back-and-forth action that the Bruins prefer to avoid when they facing the Hawks. As they have in three of the four games in the series, Chicago was able to establish that early pace and, for whatever reason, the Bruins were powerless to gear it down.

"This was a little too wide open for a Stanley Cup game," Bruins defenceman Dennis Seidenberg said post-game. "They are pretty skilled. You can't sit back."

When it was all done, Rask's save percentage of .946 had slipped to .941, while his goals-against average increased from 1.64 to 1.83.

Rask still has the playoff lead in both of those categories, but you can bet the Blackhawks snipers are sensing an opening now that the final has been reduced to a best-of-three.

"It's correctable," Rask, who faced 47 shots and had a save percentage of .872 in Game 4, said. "It's not rocket science at this point."

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca

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