There’s plenty of playing time to go around for Bruins’ Thomas, Rask

Of the 12 goaltenders (including repeat participants) in the last three NHL semifinal series, Nikolai Khabibulin was the closest in age to Thomas at 36 when the Chicago Blackhawks’ run started in ’09. Khabibulin though had split the regular season with Cristobal Huet, 40-40, before taking over as the No. 1 in the playoffs. While Khabibulin’s workload during his regular season — during which he posted a 2.33 and .919 — isn’t comparable to what Thomas will probably finish with this season, it’s telling that there wasn’t a major drop-off in his numbers (2.93, .898) in the postseason, where the competition gets tougher.

If the Bruins are planning on playing Thomas upwards of 60, 70 games, there would be a real reason to be ready to storm the TD Garden and demand the coach’s head. We know both from what Julien has said and done, that he’s probably leaning toward a more-even split than he even used the year Thomas was voted the league’s best goalie. The coach’s decision to ride the hot hand early in the year isn’t without precedent. And there have been goalies in Thomas’ age range that have put their teams on the precipice of the Cup final after playing a lot more games that Thomas is going to wind up logging.

So put the pitchforks and torches down because there will plenty of playing time for both Thomas and Rask over the final 44 games, and they should both be fresh and ready to go come playoff time.

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