The Boston Bruins are 5-4 so far on the season. On Tuesday Night, the Bruins were able to take down the Florida Panthers after only accumulating 3 shots in the entire first period. Yet, the Bruins had a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. The reasoning why lies in the goalie. Tuukka Rask was able to shut down all of Florida’s 13 first period shots and keep the Panthers scoreless. Rask nearly had his second shootout in as many games. His play so far this year has given Bruins fans a reason for optimism
Rask has been a game changer this year for the black and gold. The stats are simple. With him, the b’s are 5-0. Without him, they are 0-4. Rask has a goals against of 1.2 this season. The other goalies have a combined goals against average of 4.5. That’s 3.3 goals a game less given up when Rask has been in goal for the b’s. His .961 save percentage is second in the league. What makes his showing this season that much more impressive is the Bruins mediocre defense. Every game Rask is peppered with scoring opportunities from the other team. The 4.5 goals given up per game without him in net speaks words of how bad the Bruins defense really is. So far this season, Rask has been up to the task. He even has more points than a lot of guys on the team with 2 assists.
In Rask’s five games this season, the Bruins have scored two goals or fewer in three games. These can go under the “stolen” game group for Rask. During the offseason, he was rumored to be on the trade market. Many were questioning his 7.5 million per year contract and his ability to led a team with problems on the backend. The questions were justified after giving up more than two and a half goals a game and a having save percentage of .911. Despite the below average defense, the numbers don’t add up to the contract. Making 7 and half a year you need to steal games when your team desperately needs a win. That’s why you are getting paid the big bucks.
It has been a different story for the Bruins goalie this year. If he can keep it up, the B’s will likely be headed back to the playoffs after collapsing the last two seasons. Through 5 games, Bruins fans have optimism about their goalie. The Bruins playoff hopes could very much ride on one man. That being said, the goalie needs to continue his Vezina like performance so far this season. If not, it could be another long season for Bruins fans.