Throughout his career, there have been questions about if Tuukka Rask
can be the one to deliver a Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins. While he does have a championship on his resume, that was as a backup to Tim Thomas. The former first-round pick does have a Vezina however, and a pair of deep playoff runs solidified by his elite performances. But no matter how he played, he still has yet to prove he can be the man in net for a title-winning team. Now, he could be a part of the best goalie duo in the NHL
The 271st draft selection by the Montreal Canadiens in 2003, Jaroslav Halak has outperformed any expectations of the team that drafted him. Boston is the fifth stop in his career. He has also played for the New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues, and Washington Capitals. Halak was a solid netminder with the Islanders but had a difficult time winning games due to a lack of supporting cast. This led him to Boston where he has been an excellent complement to All-Star, Rask.
What Makes Boston’s Tandem the Best Goalie Duo in the NHL
How Did Boston Matchup Last Season?
When you ask most NHL fans who the best goaltender in the NHL is right now, chances are you’ll get Ben Bishop or Andrei Vasilevskiy. But the problem here is that both of them are heavily relied upon by their franchises. Last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning started Vasilevskiy in 53 games. Bishop started 45 for the Dallas Stars. While those don’t seem like particularly high numbers, you need to look at the production by their backups. Anton Khudobin had a .923 save percentage behind Bishop (.934 save percentage) and Louis Domingue put up a .908 save percentage behind Vasilevskiy (.925 save percentage). In Boston, Halak and Rask split the starts fairly evenly. Rask took the lead in 45 games, with Halak starting in net 37 times. Both netminders had excellent save percentages with a .912 and .922 respectively. They also combined for nine shutouts over the course of the season.
The Season So Far
Looking at what has been done this season, the dynamic duo in Boston have shut their opponents down. Through six games (three starts each), Rask and Halak have a pair of shutouts and a combined goals-against-average of 1.51. Rask has a .957 save percentage and Halak has a .951 save percentage. Both goalies are in the top 10 of the NHL in those statistical areas. It is also worth mentioning that in their first six games, Boston played their first four on the road in a west coast trip. While those numbers are not sustainable long term, this is an excellent start to the 2019-20 season.
While there are teams out there that have better goaltenders than Boston does, they are largely based around the production of one player. No team in the NHL has a better tandem than the Boston Bruins and it could be the key to a high playoff seeding in a tough Atlantic Division. The road to the playoffs is long, but Boston’s strength in net will be the key to getting them there.
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