Tuukka Rask. Frederik Andersen.
On the surface, these two goaltenders aren’t even in the same stratosphere. One has a Vezina and has led his team to a Stanley Cup Final. The other...hasn’t accomplished much of note, aside from winning the William Jennings Trophy in Anaheim.
However, it’s worth digging in and taking a look at the two guys who will arguably play the biggest roles in this series.
Rask can never seem to catch a break from Bruins fans.
If the B’s get the win, it’s because “the whole team played well” and “the offense carried the team.”
If the B’s lose, it’s because “Tuukka played awful” and “Tuukka is so soft!”
No matter what he does, he will always manage to get criticism from Boston fans who expect nothing but the best from all their professional sports teams.
After having a rough start to the season, Rask was benched in favor of Anton Khudobin, who managed to carry the team during Rask’s absence and turn things around. When Rask returned to the lineup, he played like a man on a mission.
With great performance after great performance, Tuukka turned things around: 34-14-5, a 2.36 GAA and .917 SV% is how Rask’s stats look heading into the playoffs.
Among goaltenders who have played 50+ games this season, Rask sits in 8th place with 34 wins. Among those same goaltenders, Rask sits 10th in save percentage with a .917 and 2nd in GAA with a 2.36. The only goalie with a better GAA is Pekka Rinne.
Since we’re here, let’s talk about Tuukka Rask in the playoffs. Another common criticism of Rask is that he can’t play in big games. But isn’t every playoff game a big one?
In playoff action, Rask has a stellar 2.12 GAA and .928 SV%. That’s pretty good if you ask me. His GAA back in the 2013 playoffs when he led the B’s to the Cup final? 1.88 with a .940 SV%. I don’t know about you guys, but that looks like someone who can play big games to me.
Among active goaltenders with 30+ playoff games played, Rask sits in third place with a .928 SV% and fifth in GAA with a 2.12. He also has five shutouts in the playoffs, which is tied for fifth. We should expect to see big things from Rask this postseason; he will be dialed in.
Good ol’ Freddy Andersen has been pretty good this season for the Maple Leafs and has come up big when needed.
Andersen ended the season at 38-21-5 with a 2.81 GAA and .918 SV% with five shutouts. He has been the main guy for the Leafs this season and has been able to get some big wins for the team.
Among goaltenders who have played 50+ games this season, Andersen sits fourth in wins with 38, trailing only Pekka Rinne, Connor Hellebuyck, and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Andersen sits in eighth place with a .918 SV%, two slots above Tuukka Rask. Among those same goaltenders, Andersen sits 15th in GAA with a 2.81.
What about Freddy Andersen in the playoffs? Andersen played in the playoffs for three seasons with the Anaheim Ducks and has played one postseason so far with the Maple Leafs.
Andersen’s career numbers in the playoffs? 2.41 GAA and .915 SV% with 2 shutouts. That’s not bad at all.
When talking about playoff stats among active goaltenders who have played 30+ playoff games, Andersen sits in 15th place with a .915 SV% and 13th in GAA with a 2.41. Not bad, but definitely not as good as Rask.
In 2014, Andersen played 7 games in the playoffs and the Ducks were eliminated in the second round by the Dallas Stars. In 2015, Andersen led the Ducks to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games. In 2016, Andersen and the Ducks lost in the first round to the Nashville Predators in seven games.
In his first playoff season with Toronto, Andersen and the Leafs were eliminated by the Washington Capitals in the first round.
Like Rask, Andersen will be dialed in and ready for the series to start.
When comparing the two, Rask has the upper hand. His playoff stats are better, and he has led his team further into the playoffs than Andersen has.
To be fair, it’s hard to say which goalie will play better during this series, but if I had to make a guess, I would say Rask.
However, Andersen has amazing career numbers against the Bruins: 10-1-0 with a .935 save percentage and 2.09 GAA.
The Bruins are going to have to seriously mess with those numbers if they want to have a chance.