To no surprise Anton Khudobin got the start in net for the Bruins on Saturday afternoon and nearly nine minutes into his first career start at the TD Garden as a Boston Bruin, Khudobin found himself in an early 2-0 hole thanks to two power-play goals by the Tampa Bay Lightning, but fifty-one minutes, and three unanswered Bruins goals later, all was well for Khudobin and the Bruins.
Khudobin settled down very nicely allowing the Bruins to rebound from an ugly first period as the Russian-born goalie made 20 saves in the win.
Saturday’s game kicked off a stretch of 17 games in 31 days. With a grueling March schedule ahead, Khudobin is going to see plenty of time in net for the Bruins, and that certainly is not a bad thing.
Khudobin is now 3-1 on the season, but it’s his numbers throughout his entire career that should be put on notice. In four seasons between the Minnesota Wild and Boston Bruins, Khudobin is 8-2 with a 1.83 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage.
Over the past several years the Bruins have been fortunate enough to have one of the best goalie-tandems in the league with Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, but the current tandem of Rask and Khudobin have continued the recent success of Bruins goaltending. Head coach Claude Julien reiterated that no matter who is in net, he and the team has full confidence in their goalie.
“I thought he was good for us tonight” said Julien. “A guy who hasn’t played much, at first maybe he was trying to feel his way through. But he got better and better as the game went on, so we were really happy with his performance. Our team is going to play the same way no matter who’s there, we have confidence in both of those guys.”
Despite being down by a pair early in this one, Khudobin knew the game was far from over and knew he had to buckle down to help his team get back into the game.
“I think it’s a character win for us. We’re down after 10 minutes, down 2-0. We came back, scored three goals, and they didn’t score on us anything. Guys played great in front of me. I think we played great” said Khudobin.
Like his coach, Khudobin’s teammate Patrice Bergeron was pleased with the play of Khudobin.
“Yeah, I thought he played great” said Bergeron. “He was very poised with the puck, he’s doing a great job of putting the rebounds in the corners and stuff like that and talking with us so yeah I thought he was very solid.”
Saturday’s start was the first action Khudobin has seen in two weeks. Khudobin admitted that playing backup is not a role he is use to, but he has no issues in doing whatever it is he asked to do.
“I wasn’t in this position for a long time, but it’s just my role right now. Just getting ready at practice, and be ready whenever coach will give me playing time.”
Get ready Anton, you’re about to get plenty of playing time as March rolls on.
Check out photos from today’s games courtsey of Sharon Bradley.