How good is Boston at team defense? Just look at their goaltending stats this season.
Rask: 2.04GAA, .930SvPct, 36-15-6-7
Chad Johnson & Niklas Svedberg: 2.10GAA, .931 SvPct, 18-4-3-2
There's essentially zero dropoff from the possible Vezina winner to the no-name backups (who actually had a better won-loss record). Granted, it's harder when you're the top guy and you have a heavier workload, but I think it shows that while Rask is excellent, the Bruins also put him in a position to excel.
umm Rask has a career GAA of 2.11 and sv% of .928, and in the playoffs it's even better, 2.04GAA and .933 sv%. Rask IS that good
I can see both sides. Yes, Rask is very, very good.
It's also true that he plays for a team that plays excellent defense in front of him.
If you put Howard in a Boston uniform, is he as good as Rask? I really doubt it. But I don't think there's much question that whatever flaws Rask has, they'd be more exposed playing for Detroit, and Boston would probably do a bit better at masking Howard's.
What I see going on here is that fans are confusing themselves with players.
When a goalie gives up an early goal, it's absolutely deflating to a fan, and I suppose it's not unreasonable for fans to assume the same thing happens to players.
But I've been watching hockey a long time, and I honestly don't believe that it works that way.
Have I seen a goal deflate a team? Yes. But when it happens, it almost always follows a certain script:
1. Underdog team works its arse off to build a lead against a favored opponent.
2. Underdog carries a lead into the third period, maybe even well into the third period.
3. Favored team starts acting frustrated, taking themselves out of the game
4. Underdog team's goalie gives up a bad goal (or two)
5a. Rest of underdog team collectively goes "Oh, FFS, we killed ourselves for 50 minutes only for THAT to happen?!?"
5b. Goal(s) lights a fire under favored team, which starts playing with focus
6. Favored team carries momentum over final 5-10 minutes, building pressure to the point that they finally score the game-winner to complete the comeback.
That's why I (and others) are heaping so much scorn on the "deflating goal" theory tonight. The Wings never inflated in the first place. They never accomplished anything that they could be frustrated at losing. And, yes, if you pack it in after a goal with 50 minutes left on the clock, by definition you are not Stanley Cup material.
He didn't have to shut them out in Game 2. The Wings made it a 2-1 game and Howard lets in a somewhat soft goal late in the second period to totally deflate the team. How different would that game have looked only down 1 goal and the team skating well. That is what I meant by the timing of the goals.
So much denial here. Howard didn't kill the Wings' chance to win tonight. From the opening faceoff, the Wings never gave themselves a chance.
When you score 2 goals in 3 games and you *aren't* facing elimination in game 4, there's a good chance that your goalie is your series MVP. Not because he's necessarily been lights out, but because everyone has been worse.
And even then, it's not enough. Apparently, there's widespread belief that Howard has to keep track of when his teammates are having, ahh, that time of month. He has to wear the pants on the team.
It's unbelievable that people think the team that's showed up for the first 3 games could legitimately compete for the cup, but for Howard. Whatever makes the loss easier to take, I guess. It's probably better than booze.
The other team is allowed to improve. There's no point sighing about how game 2 was different from game 1. Assuming Boston wouldn't be able to come up with a better effort in game 2 just isn't realistic.
Howard didn't have a very good game, but the loss wasn't all on him -- or even mostly on him. If he had allowed 2 goals in each of the first two games, on the road against the #1 seed, he'd have a better GAA, and would have demonstrated consistency on the road, and the wings would be down 2-zip.
If you score 2 goals in 2 games on the road against the 1-seed, and you go back home with a split, that's kind of incredible. Credit to Howard for stealing one.
Now, it's up to the rest of the team to figure out how to win a game *without* needing Howard to steal it.
I am not at all suprised how Chicago played, they were fast, made great passes, put the pressure on our d and made us look bad, this is exactly how they played for 48 games. They are a very good squad. They played good, did the things they wanted and we played pretty bad. Bad combo. We will get better...Need to limit turnovers and shoot the puck alot more. We need 4 of our best games to beat these guys.
If I play the lottery and don't win, I don't need to go through hours of heartache and analysis. I don't need an academic study to explain why I didn't win.
The problem with having the sort of history that the Wings do is that you're never going to sneak up on anyone. And they didn't yesterday. But this is still a series. Maybe the Hawks get a bit complacent in game 2. It's not the Wings' job over the next 24-48 hours to figure out how to be better than Chicago. It's their job to make sure they're ready to capitalize in case they get an opening - for whatever reason (Chicago complacency, fortunate bounce, whatever).
A game 2 win isn't impossible, and that at least makes it a best of 5, with 3 at home...