Bruins

Khudobin's hot hand ends with 'tough game' vs. Predators

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Khudobin's hot hand ends with 'tough game' vs. Predators

NASHVILLE -- The big question going into Monday night’s showdown in Nashville was whether or not Anton Khudobin would still be riding a hot hand after a 10-day layoff following his last start. It was back to normal for the B’s backup netminder in terms of workload, but it’s not often you see a goalie riding a four-game winning streak proceed to go a week-and-a-half between appearances.

We found out why on Monday evening as Khudobin gave up four goals before getting yanked in the second period of an eventual 5-3 loss to the Predators. The backup certainly didn’t get any favors from the defense in front of him with some pretty brutal breakdowns, but Khudobin also struggled mightily with his rebound control before getting pulled in favor of Tuukka Rask.

Perhaps there were some signs this kind of game was coming from Khudobin after he looked erratic with his rebounds in his last win vs. Pittsburgh right after Thanksgiving, but nobody could have guessed it would be this rough.

The first goal allowed was probably the biggest demerit on Khudobin’s ledger for the night with a juicy rebound of an Alexei Emelin shot that kicked right out to Craig Smith for the put-back score.

“Maybe in the middle of the first,” said Khudobin, when asked if he ever got settled into the game. “[It was a] tough bounce on that first goal. It hit on the wrong side of my pad, and it was a tough bounce.”

The final straw was watching Khudobin give up two goals on three shots in the second period with the Bruins then trailing by four goals. Afterward, Khudobin was properly exasperated, and at a loss for words after watching his goals against balloon to 2.52 and his save percentage drop to .922 after just one bad outing.   

“It was a tough game…tough game. With scoring chances against, they pretty much scored on everything that they had,” said Khudobin, who short-changed himself a good save on a Kyle Turris breakaway. “I don’t know what to say to be really honest. When the game’s not going your way, you have to change something to get the guys going.”

The good news about Monday night from a goaltending perspective was that Tuukka Rask stopped 10-of-11 shots, and was strong enough to allow the Bruins a furious comeback before the Fillip Forsberg breakaway ice things in the third period. Rask is heating up (a .937 save percentage over his last four games) as Khudobin is regressing back closer to his career numbers (a 2.47 goals against average and .917 save percentage), and the normal balance of things between the Bruins goaltending duo is returning to normal.

That’s bad news for a goalie in Khudobin that’s no longer red-hot after his worst start of the season, but it’s also pretty decent news for a Bruins team that survived Rask’s down period (thanks to Khudobin) and is now readying for the potential beginnings of a shutdown stretch from their established No. 1 guy. 

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Rangers hire David Quinn away from BU as new head coach

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Rangers hire David Quinn away from BU as new head coach

In what is becoming a growing trend, a National Hockey League team has dipped into the collegiate ranks to find its next head coach. After a successful five-year stint as Jack Parker’s successor at Boston University, David Quinn has been named the 35th coach of the New York Rangers.

Quinn reportedly received a five-year contract to oversee a plan to reload the Blueshirts roster.

In that respect Quinn is perhaps the perfect choice for the Rangers -- a young, enthusiastic coach that excels in the teaching aspect of the game with young player. He posted a 105-67-21 record in his five seasons with the Terriers while developing young NHL talent like Jack Eichel, Charlie McAvoy and Clayton Keller. Quinn didn’t win a national title at Boston University but did finish as college hockey’s runner-up in his second season, losing to Providence College in the 2015 NCAA title game.

Leaving BU for New York had to be a difficult choice for the 51-year-old Cranston, R.I., native, given that the BU job probably could have been a lifetime gig (as it was for the legendary Parker before him). But there were certainly things about the Rangers job that Quinn couldn’t pass up, among them the prestige of coaching an Original Six team and also where familiar faces like Jeff Gorton and Chris Drury are part of the management team. Being able to compete head-to-head against his good friend Mike Sullivan, the coach of the Penguins, certainly didn’t hurt either.

Quinn expressed all of those mixed emotions in a statement released by BU when New York made his hiring official on Tuesday.

“I’m incredibly excited for this new challenge, but leaving a job like this is very hard to do,” he said. “BU is a special place that has given me so much, not only as a player and a student, but also as a coach. The lifelong friendships I’ve developed here over the years absolutely mean the world to me.

“I was so fortunate to work with the very best in athletic director Drew Marrochello and senior vice president Todd Klipp. BU hockey has always been bigger than the coach and they will bring in an outstanding one to continue the winning tradition here.”

Quinn is the latest in a new movement by NHL teams to pluck their coaches from the college ranks, which is producing so many quality players these days. The Flyers kicked it off in hiring Dave Hakstol away from the University of North Dakota a couple of years ago, and earlier this month the Dallas Stars hired Jim Montgomery away from the University of Denver after the Rangers initially showed interest.

It will be interesting to see where Boston University goes next. The Terriers have a wide swath of hockey-playing alumni to choose from, and people like Bruins assistant coaches Joe Sacco and Jay Pandolfo could also be candidates list if they wanted a college job.

Morning Skate: Look for Lightning strike in Game 7

Morning Skate: Look for Lightning strike in Game 7

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while we’re almost ready for Stanley Cup Final time.

*Who is going to step up in Game 7 between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning for the right to play in the Stanley Cup Final? Put my money on Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Bolts, but don’t sleep on Brayden Point either. That dude has been awesome in this postseason for Tampa Bay. Make sure to check out all the action tonight (8 p.m.) on NBCSN where Game 7’s are treated with the proper gravitas and import.

*Interesting piece from Pittsburgh columnist Ron Cook, who says part of Pittsburgh’s downfall this spring had to do with a “sour relationship” between Phil Kessel and Mike Sullivan. Is Phil Kessel becoming a problem in an NHL dressing room? This is me with my “not shocked” face.

*Pierre Lebrun talks with TSN 1040 out in Vancouver about the Evander Kane contract extension with the San Jose Sharks, which is supposed to be in the seven-year, $49 million range. That is a massive gamble on a player that’s scored 30 goals once in a career where he’s underachieved most of the time. To put it in perspective, Kane will be getting paid $1 million more per season than a much better player in Boston in Brad Marchand. That’s the makings of a really, really bad contract in my humble opinion.

*PHT writer James O’Brien says that the Carolina Hurricanes trading Jeff Skinner would haunt the team, but it sure looks like the Canes are moving for a house-cleaning in Carolina.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Pothier out in Vegas says that all of the skepticism is gone when it comes to the Golden Knights acquiring Ryan Reaves after his big playoff moment.

*For something completely different: I’ve always wanted to see Mysterio on the big screen battling Spider-Man, and it looks like we will see that sooner rather than later as played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Sounds groovy to me.  

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