It’s no secret that fans of Boston sports have become spoiled over the years. Our four teams have collectively won ten championships since 2001 and Boston is the winningest sports city of the 21st century. It’s a great label to have, but these consistent banners have led to fans expecting nearly unattainable results. High expectations are nothing new in Boston, but Tuukka Rask shouldn’t be under any scrutiny.
A DEPENDABLE ASSET
Rask has a .922 career save percentage to go with a 2.26 goals-against average. Anybody would admit that these are solid numbers, but most don’t realize just how impressive they really are. According to www.quanthockey.com, Rask leads all active NHL goalies in both categories. He beats out Lundqvist, Schneider, Quick and all the other superstar goalies in the NHL. Fans might want to consider this before begging for someone else.
He’s also yet to have his first statistically “bad” NHL season. The league average for save percentage typically hovers around .915, which is the lowest Rask has ever gone in a single season. This essentially means that even in his worst season, he was still average in comparison to the other goalies around the league.
His goals-against average is just as impressive. The league average spiked 7% this season but it usually hovers around 2.6. Rask’s career low is 2.67, and this speaks volumes to his consistency. Even in an off year, he’ll still allow less than three goals per game. That’s the kind of dependability teams need to be successful.
His play in the postseason, believe it or not, is even better. He has a career goals-against average of 2.25 and a .924 save percentage, both of which top his career regular season stats. Goalies are under an even bigger microscope in the playoffs, but this is a guy you can win a cup with.
A FLAWED PERCEPTION
The reality is that Bruins fans have been spoiled by both Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask. Even the backups have been reliable. It’s been so steady between the pipes that some fans have forgotten what bad goaltending is actually like.
Rask has been a victim of high expectations, and the Bruins are incredibly lucky to have him signed through 2021.