Tuukka Rask has to prove himself this postseason. Know why? Because quite frankly he hasn’t won a damn thing.
OK, now that we’re done being idiots, let’s actually talk about Tuukka Rask in the playoffs. He’s… good! As in really good. As in holy-cow-how-the-hell-do-people-even-come-up-with-the-Tuukka-Rask-needs-to-prove-himself-in-the-postseason stuff.
You should already know by now that Rask’s 2013 performance was statistically as good, if not better than Tim Thomas’ 2011 performance.
No it wasn’t. A guy on a team that didn’t win can’t have a better performance than a guy on a team that won!
OK, now that we’re done with that little break from not being idiots, yes, Rask was as good, if not better in 2013 than Thomas was in 2011.
In fact, since reclaiming the starting job, Rask has been one of the best playoff goaltenders in the league. Since 2013, Rask has the second-highest save percentage among goalies with 10 games played in the postseason. His .936 mark sits behind only Braden Holtby (.939) and well above the likes of Carey Price (.916) and Jonathan Quick (.917).
Yeah, well he’s only played in two postseasons since 2013. Easy to keep up good playoff numbers when you don’t have to play.
Double-check where he ranks in games played.
The only question with Rask is whether he can carry his play from late in the regular season (a .971 save percentage with two shutouts over his last six games) into the playoffs. That's unsustainable, but if he puts up anything close to that, the Bruins will crush the Senators. And he's certainly smoked better teams in the playoffs before (sup Pittsburgh).
This season has been a bumpy ride for Rask. He's one of 14 goalies with a cap hit between $5.5 million and $7.5 million and he ranked eighth in save percentage among that group in the regular season. Would you like his cap hit to be closer to the middle -- something like $6.5 million rather than $7 million? Sure, but that means that the complaints about him being overpaid come down to half a million dollars for one of your best players. Even in a down year, Rask isn't nearly the problem he's been made out to be.
That said, now would be a terrible time for his up-and-down season to dip too far down. His last two two postseasons have shown that on the whole, that probably won't happen. He’s been anywhere from good-to-great in the postseason.
This is not a declaration that Rask will be lights-out. Quite frankly, the Bruins' injury situation and any lingering questions about Erik Karlsson's foot make this series an absolute tossup. The bigger concern as it relates to Rask is the group playing in front of him. The Bruins will face an offensively unremarkable Senators team in the first round, but an already mediocre defense has been decimated by injuries. If Rask is under seige and rebounds are up for grabs more so than usual, maybe those great playoff numbers dip closer to what they were this regular season.
So have your suspicions about Rask if you’d like based on 2010 or anything else, but just know that as it relates to his play, you won’t have much of an argument. Read a book for me one time.