Bruins regular-season final grades: the goaltenders

Thomas/By S. Bradley

The first 82 games are in the books. Now the games really count. Before the start of the playoffs, here’s a look at how the Bruins graded out during the regular season.

Just one tenth of a goal separated the Bruins’ goaltenders from a second Jennings Trophy in three seasons and that honor going to Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider.

For the third straight year, the Bruins had the league leader in goals-against average and save percentage. Both Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask would credit the team in front of them for helping their cause, but more often than not it was the netminders bailing out the defensemen and forwards rather than the other way around for the Bruins.

Here are the final regular-season report cards for the Bruins’ goaltenders:

Tim Thomas

First-quarter grade: A

Midseason grade: A-minus

Third-quarter grade: A

Final grade: A

Only the most miserly of graders wouldn’t give Thomas a perfect grade after he set a new single-season record with a save percentage of .938 and posted a straight-up 2.00 goals-against average. He added nine shutouts and was clearly the best goaltender in the entire NHL from Game 1 to 82. For those that want to pass his success off to playing on a defensive team, Thomas faced nearly 32 shots per game. A second Vezina Trophy in three seasons should be in the offing for the veteran.

Rask/By S. Bradley

Tuukka Rask

First quarter grade: A-minus

Midseason grade: A-minus

Third-quarter grade: A-minus

Final grade: B-plus

It wasn’t a full-blown sophomore slump. After all, you can’t be in a season-long slump and finish with a .918 save percentage and 2.66 GAA – numbers many No. 1 goalies would die for – as the No. 2.

Rask took time to adjust to his lessened role after his breakout rookie season. He settled in pretty well through the middle of the season. But he became a bit unpredictable, not to mention hot-headed, down the stretch when the Bruins needed him to help get Thomas some well-earned rest. Rask struggled when the quality of competition rose. The Bruins still have one of the most promising young goaltenders around, and there’s always the chance he’ll contribute more in this spring’s playoffs if called upon.

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