GLENDALE, Arizona – After a couple of rough losses back-to-back, the Bruins will give Tuukka Rask his first breather of the season with this weekend’s back-to-back road games against the Coyotes and Golden Knights.
Anton Khudobin will get his first start of the season on Saturday night against the Coyotes at Gila River Arena and Rask will get back between the pipes against the Golden Knights in his first time facing the Vegas expansion team. Rask has given up 10 goals in his first three games and is off to a pretty sluggish start behind a mistake-filled Bruins defense, and that has manifested into a .870 save percentage and 3.76 goals against average for the B’s No. 1 goaltender.
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Truth be told, Rask was pretty good opening night vs. the Predators and far from the biggest problem in the road loss to the Colorado, but was also incredibly poor in the matinee loss to the Avs on home ice. An average Rask isn’t going to be much help to a Bruins team battling injuries and uneven performances early in the season.
So the Bruins will instead look to switch up the energy a bit by calling Khudobin’s number and hope he can continue the high performance level he showed during the preseason. Clearly, the B’s backup wants to get off to a good start this season after the first few months of last year went so very wrong for him in Boston.
“Anton will go in tomorrow. I saw him play very well in preseason in Detroit, went out to Chicago and played well again and came in the other night and he played well. His camp was good. I expect him to play well,” said Cassidy. “For himself and for us, we need good games out of that position whether you’re the starter or the back-up.
“If we could get on the right foot [Saturday against the Coyotes] then that would help us a lot, so we’re asking him to do his part. We need to play well in front of him and score some goals, but he’s been good so far…so I don’t know why that would change.”
Is there any way Khudobin could get both starts if he stands on his head against the Coyotes, and ends the Bruins current losing stretch at two games?
Cassidy wouldn’t bite and said without hesitation that he’ll go right back to Rask on Sunday in Vegas, but a dominant stretch of hot goaltending might be exactly what the B’s need right now to kick-start things for them this season.