Bruins still taking it 'game-by-game' with goalies

Bruins still taking it 'game-by-game' with goalies

BOSTON – Clearly, Anton Khudobin didn’t stand on his head on Friday afternoon while letting up three goals to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

But the Bruins backup goalie did enough to win his fourth game in a row between the pipes. He made a big-time stop on Phil Kessel with 7.5 seconds left from the edge of the left face-off circle with Patric Hornqvist bearing down on him right in front of the net. It was one of his 17 saves in the 4-3 win that improved Khudobin to 7-0-2 on the season with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage.


The performance was an interesting one for the Bruins backup because it was clearly still solid without even a single softie among the three goals allowed, but not so dominant that the B's would feel compelled to play Khudobin again if they wanted to work Tuukka Rask back in against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday afternoon.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy has a couple of days to make the decision and said the B’s are still very much going game-by-game with the goaltending choice between Khudobin and Rask.

“We’re going to go game-to-game. It’s not going to be...well, we’re playing Dobby [Khudobin] until he loses, you know, we talked about this. Personally, I thought to put Tuukka [Rask] in [on Friday] after no practice, he hasn’t had a lot of live action, would have been a disservice to him as well with an afternoon game,” said Cassidy. “Maybe if it was a night game, you know, he gets some feel in the morning. So Dobby was probably going to go either way because he’s played more lately.

“Now we’ll reassess. Again, I know it sounds like we’re kicking it down the curb, but that’s what we are doing to be honest with you because we don’t announce our goalie on Friday for Sunday. That’s what we’re looking at but that’s the thought process as well.”

Clearly, Khudobin is enjoying the run he’s having and seeing his name up near the top of the NHL save percentage leaderboard along with Sergei Bobrovsky and Corey Crawford. But he also understands that this isn’t an easy stretch for Rask sitting back and watching as the team keeps on winning and performing at its highest level all season. Rask hasn’t completely lost his starting job because the Bruins are still intent on getting their No. 1 back on track, but it’s the first time post-Tim Thomas that Rask has sat for four games in a row.

That’s a pretty significant development in the grand scheme of things with the B’s goaltending situation.

“It’s never easy," Khudobin said. "It’s never easy and we are partners and I wish him really, really well ahead of us in games. He’s going to get in games – I don’t know when – but I hope he’s going to get in a rhythm too, because we both do the same job. My job is the same, and if I’m going out there then I try to play and try to get the win. If he’s going to go there, then [it’s the] same thing. I wish him good luck in everything. So, there’s nothing changed about that.

“I think for every goalie, when you’re playing more and more and more, you always get in a rhythm, you feel the puck better, you kind of, you see the puck better, and of course, for me personally it’s easier. I mean, it’s not really easy to play in this league, but when you’re in the rhythm, then it’s easier for me.”

The million dollar question is when, or if, Rask is going to get into that same rhythm that’s leading the way for Khudobin, and when he’s going to get that chance again after struggling through the first few months of the season. 

Morning Skate: Is Ovechkin clutch?


Morning Skate: Is Ovechkin clutch?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while still not believing what I saw in last night’s Patriots/Steelers game. Boy, has Tom Brady been a treat to watch over the course of his career. 


*Pro Hockey Talk asks if Alex Ovechkin is clutch. Why do I feel like this could develop into an “Is Joe Flacco Elite?” level of debate? 


*Nashville D-man (it still feels weird writing that) PK Subban is planning to use his creativity to help grow the game of hockey that he loves so very much. 


*Erik Karlsson is getting to the top of his game at a rather appropriate time as trade rumors start to swirl with him along with a massive price tag on his next contract. The question is this: Who has the prospects and the cap room to make a move for Karlsson work, and what would they have to give up to the Sens in order to get him? Multiple blue chip prospects, first round pick and an established, All-Star-level player would be my starting point.  


*Speaking of the Ottawa Senators, Vice Sports says that the Senators fan base deserves a better owner than Eugene Melnyk. 


*Ryan Reaves and Kris Letang headline a list of five big questions facing the Pittsburgh Penguins through the rest of the season. 


*For something completely different: A Spoiler-rific take on the Last Jedi, and the kind of things the next movie must do in order to make this movie more palatable to the hard-core fan base.  

Same B's lineup as they brace for glut of games leading into holiday


Same B's lineup as they brace for glut of games leading into holiday

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins have enjoyed a lot of down time over the first two months of the NHL regular season, but that’s beginning to change now as they enter the holiday season. Sure they will get the three-day break around the Christmas holiday just like everybody else around the NHL, but they’re heading into that three-day respite with a schedule of seven games in 11 days, including back-to-back games Columbus and Buffalo kicking off tonight at TD Garden. 

It’s good that this kind of busy sequence didn’t come down when the B’s were injury ravaged over the first few months of the season, but there’s never an easy time to play four 60-minute effort games in a span of six days, including a short rest matinee on Saturday vs. the Red Wings.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will undoubtedly roll lines a little more liberally and probably rotate some players into his lineup, but he’s going with the same forwards and D-men in front of Tuukka Rask on Monday night vs. the Blue Jackets. The Bruins are doing what they can during a dense portion of the schedule, and making certain they’re ready to give their best after dropping back-to-back games against the Capitals and Rangers last week. 

“You just need to make it easy on ourselves by not playing a hard game, and not doing damage to ourselves to make things more difficult,” said Brad Marchand. “You take care of the puck and keep it simple, and then whenever you get a day off you need to rest up and recover. That’s all you can really do.”

So Rask will get the nod with Anton Khudobin likely to start against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, and the lineup will be exactly the same as vs. the Rangers with Anders Bjork sitting for the second game in a row: