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Midseason grades for Bruins goaltenders

Matt Kalman
January 04, 2019 - 11:28 am

The Bruins hit their halfway point of the season ranked fourth in the NHL in goals allowed per game (2.66).

General manager Don Sweeney’s move to important a veteran with experience as a No. 1 to push for ice time and fill in for longer stretches when needed has worked to perfection, and goaltending has again been of little concern for the Bruins most of the first half.

Here are the grades for the Bruins’ goaltenders:

(Grades are best on expectations for the players’ performance and production.)

Jaroslav Halak

Grade: A

For much of the season’s first half Halak was ranked No. 1 or 2 in goals-against average and save percentage, more than earning the $2.75 million the Bruins agreed on July 1 to pay him for the next two seasons. He woke up Thursday still in the top five in both categories. Where would the Bruins be without Halak? Considering Tuukka Rask’s early-season struggles and Rask's weekend leave of absence in early November, you can make a case for Halak as team MVP.

Tuukka Rask

Grade: C+

The numbers say Rask has built himself back into an above-average NHL goaltender, as his save percentage has risen to .914 in a league that has seen scoring rise and save percentages dip. When he went for his leave of absence, though, he was at .901 and not making much of a case for his cutting into Halak’s playing time. That has changed since, with him posting a .916 since his return Nov. 16 in Dallas.

Looking ahead

Coach Bruce Cassidy has done an excellent job of keeping both goaltenders sharp and he’ll continue to do so throughout the second half and the stretch run. Cassidy also doesn’t seem afraid to lean on Halak over the high-paid Rask, so the rest of the regular season could be an audition for who starts Game 1 of a possible playoff run.