As of Sunday night, the Boston Bruins are statistically the best team in the NHL. They are the number one ranked team in goals against per game (2.0) and in goals scored per game (3.6). Despite a minor setback on Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, Boston still remains hot.
A team can have a high-powered offense and a shut-down defense to be successful in this league. However, it takes a leader between the pipes to provide the spark a team needs to play hockey in June. The Bruins have two such individuals.
Tuukka Rask leads all NHL goaltenders in goals against average (1.59) and save percentage (.945). At 24 years of age, Rask will be the goaltender of the future after already putting forth a stellar young career.
Tim Thomas is within the top five of both major goaltender statistical categories so far this season. No one can forget the performance that he displayed during last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. He won his second Vezina Trophy last summer for being the league’s best goaltender. He completed the goalie “Triple Crown” by winning the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player during the playoffs.
Most teams rely heavily on one goaltender to carry the work load. Craig Anderson (OTT), Pekka Rinne (NSH), and Miikka Kiprusoff (CGY) are all goaltenders that have played at least 39 games this season and we should expect that work load to continue. There are two reasons for this. First, all three are making hefty salaries. Second, and more importantly, all three of their respective teams could make a playoff push.
The Bruins have the luxury to rotate Thomas and Rask in order to keep each other rested. So far, Thomas has 28 starts and Rask has 15 starts. Also, these are two goaltenders that are proven starters in this league. Not many teams in the NHL can say that they have a great goalie tandem.
Thomas will join fellow Bruins Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin in the 2012 NHL All-Star game, which will be played January 29 in Ottawa.
Thomas is making his fourth All-Star game appearance. He is also looking for his fourth straight victory as he was the winning goaltender in all three of his previous appearances.