Boston Bruins: Goaltenders near perfection post All-Star Break

WINNIPEG, MB - JANUARY 31: Joakim Nordstrom #20 and goaltender Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins celebrate a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place on January 31, 2020 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
WINNIPEG, MB - JANUARY 31: Joakim Nordstrom #20 and goaltender Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins celebrate a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place on January 31, 2020 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Boston Bruins opened their first games post All-Star break in emphatic fashion, with the goaltending shining through.

Tuukka Rask claimed the 2-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday, with Jaroslav Halak then back-stopping the Boston Bruins’ 6-1 rout of the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.

As a pair of goaltenders, they have varied wildly from being absolutely elite to being rather abysmal – coming into this game, Halak had conceded 22 goals in January and Rask, although named to the All-Star Game, was returning from a concussion so it could’ve gone either way.

We got the best of both their games this weekend, both only conceding a goal each – against Winnipeg, the Boston Bruins allowed 38 shots on Tuukka’s net, so safe to say he was absolutely vital to winning the game.

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Halak meanwhile wasn’t tested as much by the Minnesota Wild and only faced 26 shots grabbing a save percentage above 0.960 for the sixth time this season and a twelfth win for the year, meaning he is back to claiming the result in half of his starts.

A lot of credit must be given to the Boston Bruins defensive efforts, though you could also argue the Minnesota Wild put up a rather meagre fight. By the end of the game, they’d managed to put just two high-danger shots on Halak’s net (unfortunately one of those snuck by).

Tuukka Rask was equal to all five high-danger shots a much more deadly Winnipeg Jets offense were able to get on him. To come away having conceded just one goal when his expected Goals Against were 3.04 shows just how crucial he was to the Boston Bruins’ fortunes.

The Boston Bruins relied heavily upon their goaltending early in their year when they went on an impressive eight game winning streak; it’s going to be a case of needing more of the same in an increasingly tight race in the Atlantic Division.

For both to come out post All-Star break and show this kind of form, the Boston Bruins have to be feeling pretty good about their chances going forward.

If we’re to maintain first place in the division, Tuukka Rask needs to continue to show why he was selected to the All-Star Game and Jaroslav Halak needs to ensure he keeps well above the 50% win mark as back-up.

Next. Back-to-backs make for a challenging month ahead. dark

Should they both manage that and the team get the job done up the other end of the ice, it shouldn’t be too major of a task to keep a grip on the top spot and draw a wild-card opponent in the first round.