Maybe when it’s all said and done, it’ll turn out that Tim Thomas did the Bruins a major favor.
Especially when you factor in the favor the New York Islanders did for the Bruins – taking Thomas’ $5 million cap hit off their hands – the two-time Vezina Trophy winner made the Bruins’ goaltending decision for them.
We weren’t forced to sit through off nights by Thomas, with everyone wondering if he’s lost it and Tuukka Rask should take over. There’s no goaltending controversy, and Rask has made sure the Bruins haven’t missed Thomas.
Rask has been everything the Bruins wanted him to be this season. He won’t really be tested until he’s back in the playoff pressure for the first time since 2010. Here’s a midseason report card for Rask and backup Anton Khudobin:
The Bruins have made it relatively easy on Rask, as he hasn’t faced more than 37 shots in any one game. However, sometimes the fewer shots faced the rougher life can be. Rask has answered the bell with a .927 save percentage and 1.96 goals-against average in 18 games.
So far, there has been no reason for coach Claude Julien to hesitate to give Rask a night off and turn to Khudobin. He’s been technically sound and has taken advantage of the Bruins’ goalie-friendly system. The real test will come if Khudobin is thrust into a pressure situation either in the regular season or playoffs.