PHILADELPHIA -- Anton Khudobin probably said it best: “It wasn’t a very good day for me.”
The Bruins backup netminder has enjoyed some excellent performances in his first full year as an NHL goalie, and he’d gone 3-0-1 in his last three starts with a 2.59 goals against average and .925 save percentage during the month of April. The 26-year-old also had to have it in his mind that Tuesday night’s game against the Flyers might be his final regular season appearance so he wanted to go out on a high note prior to the playoffs.
Instead Khudobin was pulled after allowing three goals on 14 shots in a 5-2 loss to Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center, including one embarrassing gaffe when an errant attempt by Zdeno Chara to rim the puck ended up headed toward the front of the net.
The B’s netminder tried to stop the skidding puck, but instead it bounced off his stick and trickled between his pads to make it a 3-1 lead for the Flyers.
“[Khudobin] let that third goal in, and it was a weak goal,” said Claude Julien. “But we didn’t help him at all and it certainly wasn’t his fault.
“You try to give your team some rest. You know at some point that your team just didn’t have it tonight compared to theirs. So you run your four lines, try to give them some rest and try to prevent injuries by playing them too much. But it’s a crappy way to coach. It’s not the way we wanted to coach this game, but that’s unfortunately the hand we were dealt.”
The goal off Chara’s stick was credited to Flyers rookie Oliver Lauridsen just seven seconds after Matt Read had given Philly the lead, and Khudobin flew into a rage by two-handing his stick against the right post. He exited the ice and didn't return to the bench until the beginning of the third period once he’d calmed down.
“It’s the kind of goal where something doesn’t go your way. It deflected off me and it wasn’t the right goal at all. It changed a lot,” said Khudobin. “I turned my stick way too much, and it hit my stick and went in.
“That is never good for a goalie. It happens sometimes, but it’s not a good feeling at all. I tried to control my emotions, but I was pretty angry.”
So what did Khudobin do when he disappeared from the bench and didn’t return until the third period?
“I just tried to calm down and get good things going . . . just pretty much put my head from the fire. Because if I didn’t I probably would have hit something,” said Khudobin. “This isn’t going to be a fun day for me, but we have to move on.”
It will be interesting to see what happens with the Bruins as they move on. Tuukka Rask will be taking over the bulk of the playing time with three games remaining, and there’s also a chance the Bruins will call up Swedish rookie goalie Niklas Svedberg to get a look at the NHL level.
Khudobin will hope he gets at least one more chance to stop a few more pucks for the Black and Gold before he hits unrestricted free agency at season's end.