Anton Khudobin joins Bruins in post-All Star road trip
The backup goaltending conundrum takes another twist for the Boston Bruins.
In a span of three days, Zane McIntyre was sent to Providence on Friday and recalled the next day only to be assigned back to the Baby Bruins on Sunday to take part in the AHL’s All-Star weekend festivities that conclude tonight in Leigh Valley, Pa. Anton Khudobin was on the other end of the spectrum and will be traveling with the Black and Gold as they prepare for another set of back-to-backs on the road against the Lightning and Capitals.
This means Khudobin, who is the only goaltender other than Tuukka Rask to notch a victory in 2016-17, likely starts on Tuesday against the Bolts as Tuukka Rask and fellow first-time All-Star Brad Marchand fly cross-country from Los Angeles to Tampa to meet the rest of the team.
For a guy who struggled with confidence and consistency earlier in the season before being put on waivers, the Bruins, in must-win mode essentially for the rest of the year, are going to need Khudobin to step up.
“I didn’t get enough wins,” Khudobin (1-5-1, 3.06 GAA, .885 SV% with B’s) said about his stint in Boston before being put on waivers.
Khudobin’s ups and downs continued when he was sent to Providence after clearing waivers. After allowing one goal in his first three starts, the Russian allowed at least three goals in each of his next four outings before returning to Boston.
The positives – gaining confidence and getting into a rhythm – clearly outweighed the negatives for Khudobin, however.
“It was a good stretch,” said Khudobin, who’s last start with Boston came in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Hurricanes back on December 23rd. “I had a couple of shutouts in a row, which was really good.”
“The fact that I went down there – it’s not going to change anything [about my game],” Khudobin added following Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena. “So I just went there and didn’t think about anything else [than] being prepared and getting ready for games.”
Having already cleared waivers once, this may be another one of those “last opportunity” situations for Khudobin. The consensus is McIntyre returns following his commitment at the AHL All-Star level. A good performance – which has been rare – by Khudobin could give the team second thoughts of sending him back down I-95, at least in the short term.
Whether it’s Tuesday in Tampa or Wednesday in DC, Khudobin hopes to make the most of his next start as Rask gets a needed break.