It’s cute, if not delicious, that The imminent return of Tuukka Rask at the Boston Bruins he is hailed as something of the oncoming cavalry. Because Bruins fans (and media) they never hesitated to throw all the cutlery available around Tuke Nuke ‘Em every spring because it wasn’t Tim Thomas, when the Bruins would spit it out. Rask is within inches of two Cup wins (Chara hit the post in 2OT in Game 1 in the ’13 final, losing Game 7 at home in ’19), but for most of his career he has been at the top of the list as to why the Bruins don’t parade down Causeway St. in June, no matter how wrong it usually was.
The thing is, the Rask’s Bruins teams have all fallen on some obstacle for the same reason as the ones the Bruins are barely holding on to a wild point now. Rask couldn’t fix the crease problems then, and he can’t fix them by going back to it now. Maybe if she could persuade David Tailor to join him …
That comeback probably wouldn’t push the Bruins to the top of the Eastern Conference, because their problem isn’t the goalkeeper, or at least it’s far from their biggest fault. T.Bruins is sixth in the league by goal against 2.59 and 17th in the league with an even percentage of saves, but 13th in the percentage of overall saves thanks to an excellent work on the penalty. And if there’s a team that doesn’t need an elite goalkeeper to win, it’s the Bruins. Boston has had a tradition of being a ridiculous defensive and puck-dominant team.
It is no different now. The Bruins are the only team to give up less than two expected goals every 60 minutes of a tie (per NaturalStatTrick.com). They do not give up on anything.
If there’s one criticism of the Bruins’ duo of goalkeepers Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman, it’s that they don’t make the saves they shouldn’t, even though they make nearly every save they should. Swayman saved 3.0 goals above expected in 15 appearances, and Linus Ullmark is down -0.2 (for reference, the leader in this category is Toronto’s Jack Campbell with 19.2). But again, there is no team that demands “the big rescue” less than the Bruins.
Rask certainly won’t cripple the Bruins financially, as he’s likely to sign up for the minimum. This should give the BS some room to deal with their biggest problem, the problem they have had for years, getting anyone to score beyond their top line, which remains one of the best in hockey.
Even saying this, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak did not score at their usual speed. Pastrnak has just nine goals, thanks to a shot rate that has plummeted (7.3 percent against a career score of 13.7). Marchand has more than one point per game, but only has 11 goals, as does Bergeron. All of these should bounce, because it’s just a matter of luck. Pastrnak doesn’t suffer from a lack of chances or shots, he just can’t get anything in. Those shots will eventually.
But behind them, it’s gross. Taylor Hall is still there, but was disappointed by the Bruins’ attempt to make Charlie Coyle a No. 2, which is like replacing a broken rubber with a real donut. Coyle is fine as a bamboo-killer with the last six, but the Bs have fallen in love with his 2019 playoff run that he would never repeat. He has 16 points in the year.
Lately, trainer Bruce Cassidy split the Perfection Line to pair Pastrnak with Hall, but they’ve joined Erik Haula, who is a career grinder and worker bee. If it’s in the top six, the house needs work. No one on the Bruins beyond the top line has more than eight goals. Then again, when you sign a Nick Foligno professional gas leak for nearly $ 4 million for two years, maybe you get what you deserve.
The Bruins also don’t get much offensive help from their blue line. Charlie McAvoy, somewhat one of the best two-way d-men in the league, even though he always has the facial expression of someone who just got punched in the balls, has five goals. Every other d-man has 12 combined.
Again, as Rask is willing to play for free after already earning $ 60 million, he won’t really stand in the way of the Bruins in whatever their offers are to improve their score. And should he prove he made it through, the combination of Ullmark and Swayman proved they can protect the net behind the BS star defense.
However, none of this will do much for Bruins’ path in the playoffs. They will still have to go through a combination of Florida, Tampa, and Toronto (although the latter won’t be very scary for them, will it?). Swayman is only 23 and his time will come at some point, if not this year.
However, you can’t help but laugh at the welcome mat Rask is receiving, when in the past it was always a waste to take him out of town, and the problems are still the same for which he can’t do anything.