April 13, 2010

Look Who's Still Standin'

Wow. The regular season has ended and guess what? The Bruins have managed to finagle their way into the playoffs. I say "finagle" because it hasn't exactly been the season I had initially hoped for. Regardless, I'm happy now. For the most part. The B's will face the Buffalo Sabres in the first round; the day after tomorrow, to be exact. This matchup is sure to be a tightly played series with most of the attention being placed on the goaltenders. So let's take a look.

Tuukka Rask has had a standout rookie season and with 22 wins under his belt has managed to secure his role with the team. Five of those wins happened to be shutouts. His stunning Goals-against-average (1.97) combined with a .931 save percentage, Tuukka has stolen the hearts of Bruins fans, not to mention the No. 1 goaltending spot on the B's. Having the league-leading goaltender ain't bad; especially when you're backup goalie happens to be the reigning Vezina trophy winner.

And then there's Buffalo's Ryan Miller. In case you haven't heard of him, he went 41-18-8 in his 69 games played this season. Impressed yet? Oh and he was the backbone of Team USA at the Vancouver Olympics. Posting a 2.22 GAA and a .929 save%, it is clear how consistent Miller is. The dangerous aspect of Miller's game is his ability to steal games. When he's on, he's on.

Who has the edge? We'll have to see after Game 1. Miller has the experience and has undoubtedly shined time and time again under pressure. However, how much pressure can a goalie take before cracking? Tuukka has carried the (dead) weight of the injury-plagued, offensively-challenged Bruins for the better part of the season. Throughout the turmoil, he's remained calm and delivered win after win. The question is whether or not the intensity of the playoffs will get the best of him.

This one's gonna be good.

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