On Tuesday afternoon, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask turned in one of his best performances of the season. On the NHL’s biggest stage, Rask tallied 36 saves on 38 shots. He added a game-saving stop on Chicago’s Patrick Kane to preserve the Bruins’ 3-2 lead late in the third period.

What we’ve seen so far

Before the Winter Classic, there was talk about whether Rask or Jaroslav Halak would start in net. Up until this point in the season, Halak has clearly been the better and more consistent goalie. In 22 games played, Halak has a 2.28 goals against average and a .928 save percentage. This ranks him fifth and third in the league, respectively among goaltenders. Meanwhile, Rask has a 2.63 goals against average and a .914 save percentage in the 20 games he’s played in. The answer seems pretty clear then, right? Wrong.

Rask should be the Bruins starting goalie going forward.

Yes, Rask has struggled mightily at times during the season. It all began with his abysmal performance in the first game of the season. The Bruins opened the season with a 7-0 defeat in Washington that the entire Bruins team and fan base would like to forget. After this game and at times when he would let in soft goals, Bruins fans called for his head. All this would eventually lead to his leave of absence. However, people are quick to disregard the times when he kept the Bruins in games yet took the loss because the offense was non-existent.

(cred. USA Today)

A perfect example of this came on November 16th when the Bruins fell to the Dallas Stars 1-0 in overtime. Rask was a brick wall in net stopping 36 of the Stars’ 37 shots yet got the loss because the Bruins offense failed to produce. It’s games like these where he is severely underappreciated.

Rask, 31, is currently in the sixth year of his eight-year, $56 million contract. The Finland native led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 2013 with a shutout of the Pittsburgh Penguins in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals. In his postseason career, he has started 65 games. He has a 2.25 goals against average and a .924 save percentage to go along with five shutouts.

Looking ahead

Many Bruins fans were disappointed when head coach Bruce Cassidy announced that Rask would be given the starting nod over Halak. Rask has been ‘the guy’ for the Bruins dating back to that 2013 run that ended on such a sour note. He has earned the right to play in games such as these that are on the biggest stage. Will he struggle sometime before the end of the season? Probably. But it would be unfair to use that as an excuse to say that Halak should be the starting goalie because everybody goes through rough patches.

And finally, who wouldn’t want to hear plenty more “SAVE BY RASK!” calls from Jack Edwards?

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