BOSTON -- Anton Khudobin had dinner with Evgeni Malkin last night with the Pittsburgh Penguins in town. The Bruins' new goalie might have hoped Tuesday nights tilt with the Pens would have been his first time facing his former World Junior teammate.
Instead Khudobin will dress and back up 36-year-old Marty Turco against the Penguins at TD Garden. But the Kazakhstan natives mere presence in Boston indicates that the Bruins are slipping into sleep mode with three games remaining in the season.
The former Minnesota Wild netminder has spent the entire season in Providence, and is happy to be up with the Bruins after slogging through the AHL season with hopes of making it to Boston in time for the playoffs.
It was expected Khudobin might get at least one of the last three starts in the regular season given that Turco wont be eligible for the playoffs in Boston, but instead Turco gets the nod against Pittsburgh. The good-natured Khudobin will wait his turn and hope that it comes against Ottawa or Buffalo.
Lets finish this game tonight and see what happens next, said Khudobin. Everything is good with my wrist. Everybody is good and Im ready to go. Malkin was my roommate at the World Junior championships in Vancouver, so maybe someday I get a chance to play against him. Ive never played against him.
Tim Thomas wont even dress for Tuesday nights game as he gets some much needed rest and relaxation after playing in 16 straight games through February and March. Claude Julien said theyre not shutting Tim Thomas down for the rest of the regular season, just resting him before the playoffs.
"We want to keep our game moving in the right direction," Julien said. "We have an opportunity to mix up our lineup a little bit and give some guys some rest. But at the same time we need the guys playing to be at their best.
The will has to be there for everybody, though. That cant take a break. Its a well-deserved rest for a lot of those guys. Weve had to overtax certain players because of injuries and certain situations. So hopefully we can give some of those guys a bit of a break.
The 25-year-old Khudobin could play a fairly important role for the Bruins given the questions surrounding the groinabdomen strain suffered by Tuukka Rask. His potential readiness as a backup to Tim Thomas will be important once the postseason opens for Boston on April 12.
We need to see where Tuukka is. If Tuukka isnt ready to come back then Anton needs to be ready, said Julien. Marty cant play in the playoffs. Its clear to us and its clear to him. Tuukka is making good progress, but where well be in a week-and-a-half I really dont know.