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With two-time Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas showing no signs of emerging from his Colorado bunker, the Bruins goal-tending situation will be scrutinized throughout 2013.
Replacing a goalie of Thomas' caliber is nearly impossible, but Boston finds itself uniquely capable of plugging the gap with rising star Tuukka Rask.
Following a spectacular lockout stint with the Czech Republic's HC Plzen, the 26-year-old Rask has filled his mentor's skates quite nicely. In three starts, he has posted an impressive 1.95 goals against average and .926 save-percentage, while consistently putting the B's in a position to win.
So far, the Bruins new No. 1 has done a brilliant job of establishing himself as an elite shot-stopper, but unfortunately, the Bruins will not be able to trot him out every night.
In a 48-game sprint to the playoffs, backup goalies will likely see action more frequently than ever, and they will have an increased impact on the final standings.
That means that the Bruins will need a number of quality starts from unproven backup Anton Khudobin when Rask needs a breather. With just seven NHL starts under his belt, Khudobin remains a huge question mark for the Bruins.
There is cause for optimism, considering Khudobin turned in a 44-save gem to earn a 3-1 victory over Ottawa in his only Boston start. Yet only time will tell if he can deliver when called upon.