By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Carolina Hurricanes are contemplating a swap in net. The Boston Bruins have the luxury to not worry about such matters.
A month ago, maybe that wasn’t the case, as Jaroslav Halak was more of a 1B than he was a No. 2 this year for the Bruins. If Tuukka Rask were to have slipped up in the first round against Toronto, head coach Bruce Cassidy likely would not have hesitated making a switch at the goaltender position.
But Rask has made sure that such a storyline would not be arising in Boston this postseason. Not only has Rask performed with excellence compared to his own standard of play, but he’s been the best goaltender in the entire playoffs — by a wide margin.
If one were to look at the four goaltenders still playing — Rask, Petr Mrazek, Jordan Binnington, and Martin Jones — then one would see just how great the gap is between Rask and everybody else.
(Curtis McElhinney posted incredible numbers — .947 save percentage, 1.56 GAA in two starts and three games played — but doesn’t have the required playing time to land on these comparison lists.)
1. TUUKKA RASK, .937
2. Jordan Binnington, .909
3. Martin Jones, .905
4. Petr Mrazek, .894
EVEN-STRENGTH SAVE PERCENTAGE
1. TUUKKA RASK, .942
2. Jordan Binnington, .923
3. Petr Mrazek, .913
4. Martin Jones, .910
HIGH-DANGER SAVE PERCENTAGE (5-on-5, From Natural Stat Trick)
1. TUUKKA RASK, .913 (73 saves on 80 shots)
2. Petr Mrazek, .845 (60 saves on 71 shots)
3. Jordan Binnington, .818 (81 saves on 99 shots)
4. Martin Jones, .787 (96 saves on 122 shots)
GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE
1. TUUKKA RASK, 2.02
2. Jordan Binnington, 2.54
3. Petr Mrazek, 2.73
4. Martin Jones, 2.83
POWER-PLAY SAVE PERCENTAGE
1. TUUKKA RASK, .907 (68 saves on 75 shots)
2. Martin Jones, .863 (44 saves on 51 shots)
3. Jordan Binnington, .826 (38 saves on 46 shots)
4. Petr Mrazek, .800 (44 saves on 55 shots)
SHORTHANDED SAVE PERCENTAGE
1. Petr Mrazek, 1.000 (8 saves on 8 shots)
2. TUUKKA RASK, .944(17 saves on 18 shots)
3. Martin Jones, .929 (13 saves on 14 shots)
4. Jordan Binnington, .824 (14 saves on 17 shots)
It’s been a masterful showing for Rask, as the only category where he’s not leading (shorthanded save percentage) also sees him having the most saves. The only eliminated goaltender who was really near Rask’s level was Ben Bishop, whose .933 save percentage and 2.22 GAA were far down the list of reasons why Dallas is no longer playing. Likewise, Robin Lehner’s .936 save percentage and 2.00 GAA should have helped the Islanders avoid a second-round sweep.
As for Rask …
His save percentage is 28 points better than anyone else’s and 43 points better than Mrazek’s.
His even-strength save percentage is 19 points better than anyone else and 32 points better than Martin Jones’.
His high-danger save percentage is a riduclous 68 points better than Mrazek’s and 126 points better than Jones’.
His GAA is more than a half-goal better than Binnington’s and is 0.81 goals better than Jones’.
His power-play save percentage is 44 points better than Jones’, and 107 points better than Mrazek’s.
When it comes to stats, they don’t always tell a full story. If Rask were, say, leading by a wide margin in one category but scattered across the board in the others, then it would perhaps not be indicative that Rask was the best goalie going right now.
But Rask is leading just about every category, and he’s doing so by a wide margin. He’ll need to maintain that play for six more victories, of course, for any of this to matter. But through 15 playoff games, it’s clear that Rask has put on quite the show.
UPDATE: Rask added to his postseason excellence in Game 3 vs. Carolina, stopping 35 of 36 shots to bump his save percentage up to .939 and dropping his GAA to 1.96.