Rask robs Bolland to secure point for Bruins in pivotal matchup against Panthers

Tuukka Rask absolutely robbed Dave Bolland Saturday night to force overtime between the Panthers and Bruins. Rask’s stop came with time winding down in the third period, and, when the season comes to an end, may have been the difference between playoffs or an early summer for the Bruins.

The wild-card race in the Eastern Conference is about as tight things can get. In Saturday night’s matchup between Boston and Florida, Tuukka Rask made a game-saving stop on Dave Bolland to keep the Bruins ahead of the hard-charging Panthers.

With little more than five minutes remaining in the third, Bolland snuck towards the side of the Bruins’ net and the puck ended up right on his tape. With Rask entirely out of position, he reached back, put his paddle down and stopped a Bolland shot for a game — and possibly season — saving save:

For weeks leading up to the all-star break, the Panthers and Bruins went back and forth for the final wild-card spot in the East. With fewer than a dozen games remaining in the seasons for both Boston and Florida, the race remains just as tight with only four points now separating the clubs, which makes Rask’s save that much bigger.

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The save kept the score deadlocked at one apiece, and the Bruins and Panthers played to a 1-1 tie after regulation. Florida went on to win in a shootout and now sit four points back of Boston for the final wild-card spot.

Boston and Florida will play twice more, March 31 and April 9, and they could be the difference between playoffs and an early summer for both teams.