Tuukka Rask struggled this season, but expect him to bounce back. (Wikipedia)

Boston Bruins Report Cards -- The Goalies: Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask

Tim Thomas was the key to Boston's Stanley Cup run. (Boston Herald)

Each day during the summer, Causeway Crowd will hand out a report card for each player on the Bruins roster, by position. It will take into account both the regular season and the playoffs. The easiest way to accomplish this is by position, so today we start with the golatenders.

Name: Tim Thomas

Position: Goaltender

Age: 36

Height and Weight: 5-10, 201

Salary: $5 million per season through 2012-13


Regular season:

GP: 57

Record: 35-11-9

Shutouts: 9

Save percentage: .938

Goals Against Average: 2.00

Saves: 1,699


GP: 25

Record: 16-9

Shutouts: 4

Save percentage: .940

Goals Against Average: 1.98

Saves: 798

The Review: The Bruins would not have won the Stanley Cup without the outstanding play of Thomas throughout the playoffs. As good as he was during the regular season – and he was good, setting the record for save percentage in a season and winning his second Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie – Thomas was even better in the playoffs. If not for Thomas, the Bruins would have been done in Round 3 for sure – if not Round 1 against Montreal. He was the clear winner of the Conn Smythe even before his shut out on the road in Vancouver I Game 7.

Thomas 2011 playoff highlights

Thomas has not only elevated himself into the discussion of best goalie in team history, but also into the realm of the greatest players ever to wear the black and gold.

The Grade: A+. Other than a few bumps in the road, Thomas was the best goalie from the opening of the season to the final seconds of Game 7.

Name: Tuukka Rask

Position: Goaltender

Age: 24

Height and Weight: 6-3, 170

Salary: $1.25 million through 2011-12 season (restricted free agent at end of season)


Regular season:

GP: 29

Record: 31-14-2

Shutouts: 2

Save percentage: .918

Goals Against Average: 2.67

Saves: 795


Did not play

The Review: Sophomore slump or the real Tuukka? That’s what Bruins management and fans need to decide. Rask was fantastic in his rookie season, going 22-12-5 (1.97 GAA and .931 save percentage) before tiring in the conference semifinal loss to Philadelphia. This year, however, he regressed, struggling at many points and losing the starting job to Thomas. Rask looked mentally exhausted in many of his starts, and was getting beat under the bar more often than not.

My thought is though Rask struggled this year, a lot of it was due to inactivity and mechanics. I would expect him to play close to 35 games in 2011-12, and if Bob Essensa and the coaching staff can tweak his mechanics a bit, Rask could still be the heir to Thomas’ throne.

The Grade: B-. Rask played better toward the end of the season, and I expect him to be Boston’s goalie when Thomas retires (or moves on) in 2013.


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Tags: Boston Bruins Tim Thomas Tuukka Rask

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