Khudobin continues to look strong behind Rask


Khudobin continues to look strong behind Rask

BOSTON – There were multiple reasons why it made sense for the Bruins to go right back to Anton Khudobin on Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks.

First and foremost, was easing Tuukka Rask back as he returns from a concussion and getting him ready to reclaim the No. 1 job against the L.A. Kings on Saturday night. But it was also going to benefit the team, and its goaltending situation, if Khudobin could respond to getting his number called again versus the Sharks, not to mention the boost it gives the Russian goalie’s confidence after a rough weekend for him and the players in front of him.


So, Bruce Cassidy and the Bruins opted for Khudobin despite Rask being cleared to play, and he responded with a 36-save gem against the San Jose Sharks in a 2-1 victory at TD Garden. It was a feel-good moment to rival the feel-bad spot from last weekend when he coughed up five goals and helped blow a three-goal lead against the Sabres.

While Khudobin did see 37 shots in a busy night of work, he credited the players in front of him for a much more stable game than the Jekyll and Hyde deal from the weekend.

“They did a hell of a job in front of me, blocking shots and they [San Jose] played in front really well, too, and they were screening, but maybe there was kind of more luck I would say,” said Khudobin. “We didn’t get unlucky bounces and all kinds of stuff, but at the same time, the guys did a hell of a job in front of me. They were clearing the pucks, and they were blocking the shots. They stayed in the right position when the shot was going through, and stuff like that.”

Khudobin was at his best in the third period when he turned away 15 shots, including a couple of bids in close from Melker Karlsson on a partial breakaway, and seemingly changed his own mojo rather than letting the bad Buffalo taste from last weekend linger.

Khudobin has points in each of his four starts with a 3-0-1 record, a solid .926 save percentage and a 2.52 goals-against average while completely fulfilling his job description as the quality backup.

“Very good, [Khudobin was] very good. Dobby is always going to have a bit of energy, for lack of a better word, in there and more movement than most, but I thought he was very composed and under control for his game,” said Cassidy. “[His] puck play was solid, very focused, seemed like he was taking care of the little details in terms of positioning.

“Like I said, he’s always going to look a little – you know, he’s not your typical technically robotic goaltender -- but I thought it was a very good bounce-back game. Got us points again, every start he’s had his points.”

With a goal of playing Rask no more than 55-60 games this season to manage his workload, the Bruins were going to need Khudobin to be at his best as well to merit the increase in his work. It’s been so far, so good for Khudobin, who is doing a perfect job of earning more playing time behind Rask and also keeping a fire lit under the No. 1 that there’s a capable backup Boston won’t hesitate to call upon if any kind of malaise sets in with their franchise goaltender.  

Morning Skate: Big payday coming for Caps coach Trotz

Morning Skate: Big payday coming for Caps coach Trotz

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering how much phantom soreness that Lebron James has today from that phantom leg injury of his last night.

*In the final year of his contract with the Washington Capitals and without an extension before the season began, coach Barry Trotz is going to be able to maximize his next deal after betting on himself this season with the Caps.

*A complete ranking of all the players in the Stanley Cup Final from best to worst. Poor Brooks Orpik can’t have fared too well on this list.

*Speaking of the Washington Capitals, owner Ted Leonsis was tossing out Caps gear to fans at the Capitals practice rink ahead of the Stanley Cup Final. People are developing Caps fever in the nation’s capital.  

*Steve Yzerman’s summer plan is to make the Tampa Bay Lightning an even better team, which seems like it might be difficult given some of their salary cap and contract situations. I guess we’ll see, but nobody should ever doubt Stevie Y.

*Interesting piece on the dynamic between Kevin Shattenkirk and David Quinn, and how their working relationship could define plenty with the New York Rangers this season.

*For something completely different: The Ringer crew asks, is “The Social Network” the best movie of this decade? Maybe for some people it is. You could make an argument for Captain America: Winter Soldier if we include superhero movies which they clearly did not, but I’d mention one movie they didn’t even get around to, “The Martian.” It’s a great movie and a great cast. Well-written. Extremely re-watchable. I definitely think it’s a better movie than the Social Network in a lot of respects even if the Facebook movie probably has a little more social relevance.  


Morning Skate: Isles may not let Tavares get away

Morning Skate: Isles may not let Tavares get away

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while wishing happy trails to Hanley Ramirez.

*It sounds like the New York Islanders are strongly in the game for retaining John Tavares after bringing Lou Lamoriello into the hockey operations fold. They will be joining a number of other teams including the Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and others. Do I expect the Bruins to be in the running for Tavares? Not unless they could find a taker for David Krejci. I don’t see that as a very likely scenario this offseason, just as I didn’t see it as a very likely scenario the past couple of years as well. Krejci’s got a big cap hit, he’s well past 30 when teams tend to steer clear of expensive players and he’s logged some heavy miles in his time with the Bruins. Those are the not the kind of players that teams are looking for even with his excellent playoff credentials and a distinct lack of frontline centers around the league.

*The Golden Knights vs. the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Final is a win-win for hockey fans looking for a good series, says the Hockey News.

*This may be the first and last time that FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski gets a return tweet from Satan, Miroslav Satan that is.

*Things continue to speed up in Pittsburgh as trade rumors are swirling with Phil Kessel in what looks like it’s going to be a turbulent end to his run with the Penguins. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like Mr. Kessel has worn out his welcome at just about every stop along the way in his NHL tour over the last 10 plus years.

*Interesting profile on NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who continues to tailor his entire life around running the National Hockey League and guiding it to its highest popularity and business levels in league history.

*For something completely different: It’s a little surprising here as the Red Sox and Hanley Ramirez are parting ways with the DH getting designated for assignment by the Sox.