Where Bruins Rank On ESPN’s ‘Goaltender Confidence’ List Ahead Of Playoffs

Defensive consistency might help Boston go a long way

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The Boston Bruins should feel pretty secure about their chances of success with Tuukka Rask and Jeremy Swayman tending their goal.

ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski on Thursday ranked the Rask-Swayman tandem fourth out of 16 duos ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Rask and Swayman will begin the postseason as Boston’s starting and backup goaltender, respectively. Their combined .912 save percentage is fourth among expected playoff tandems, while their 2.39 GAA is third.

“Rask had a slightly down year from his recent averages, but still had a 15-5-2 record and a .913 save percentage,” Wyshynski wrote. “(Jaroslav) Halak wasn’t himself, either, with a .905 save percentage and just 2.7 goals saved above average. Fear not! Jeremy Swayman enters the chat with a .945 save percentage and with nine of his 10 appearances qualifying as “quality starts” by that metric.”

In addition to Wyshynski’s take, former NHL goalie and current CEO of Clear Sight Analytics Stephen Valiquette added an interesting insight into Bruins performances when Rask is between the pipes.

“Here’s the wild thing about the Bruins. If you look at Tuukka Rask, and then you looked at any combination of Halak, Swayman and (Dan) Vladar, you would think he doesn’t even play on the same team as those guys,” Valiquette noted. “Boston plays that much poorer in front of Rask than it does with anyone else in the net. It’s one of the most bizarre things in our data. Boston gives up way more (defensively) when Rask is in net. I still think he’s a top goalie. He had a terrific year. He’s middle to top in everything we track.”

Should Boston maintain consistency in its defensive play, regardless of who’s in goal, its chances of challenging for the Stanley Cup Final only will increase.

The Bruins and Capitals will begin their first round Stanley Cup Playoff series on Saturday night at Capital One Arena. Puck drop for Game 1 is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. ET.

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