RALEIGH, NC The Boston Bruins will finally uncover their goalie understudy for a road game against a Carolina Hurricanes team that swept them in all four regular season match-ups last season.
No big deal for Anton Khudobin, though. The goaltender from Kazakhstan was the first Bruins goaltender off the ice at PNC Arena, meaning he will get the start against the young, hungry Canes. Tuukka Rask had started the four previous games to begin the regular season and put together a 1.96 goals against average and .925 save percentage, but the arrival of the season's first back-to-back games prompted the Bruins coaching staff to go with Khudobin.
He showed something last year in the one game he played for us against Ottawa and he had a decent year in Providence too, said Claude Julien, referencing the 44-save masterpiece against the Senators from late last season that cinched his gig as the backup goalie for this year. No matter what, you have to use both goaltenders in this short schedule.
"We have confidence in both of them and were going to rely on both of them. Ive said that from the get-go. He has an opportunity to show that tonight.
The 26-year-old puck-stopper played 24 games in the KHL, and went 6-14-4 with a .912 save percentage and 2.96 goals against average for a lowly Moscow Oblast Atlant during the lockout. So he should be ready to jump in for the Black and Gold after watching for the last couple of weeks, and get into his first game action since letting up five goals in the preseason Black and Gold scrimmage in his only game action.
Its been a long time since I played a game in the NHL, but I know what to expect pretty much, said Khudobin. It will be my first experience against Carolina, but it will be a good experience. You just have to work every day. You cant stand still. Every day you just move forward and work on something new.
It will be an important debut for Khudobin as the 10-15 games he appears in during the 48-game shortened season could really impact Bostons playoff standings. Carolina provides the setting for his first attempt at locking down a permanent NHL job with the Black and Gold.
BRIGHTON, Mass – It was absolutely an “uh-oh” moment for Matt Beleskey when he was hit on the foot with a shot Monday night in the Bruins' preseason opener against the Canadiens. Beleskey, 29, was just hoping that his foot wasn’t broken in what would have been another shot of bad luck coming off a tough season for the hard-nosed winger, so his hopes have been answered given his presence in the lineup for the preseason game Saturday night vs. the Detroit Red Wings.
Beleskey missed the past two preseason games and most of the practice time as well but returned to the ice on Friday before getting ready for tonight's game. With plenty to prove while coming off a down second season in Boston, Beleskey knows he needs a strong camp that can’t get derailed by injuries or assorted bumps and bruises.
“I definitely did not want a broken foot to start the year, so I’m glad that I was fine,” said Beleskey, who finished with three goals and eight points along with a minus-10 in 49 games last season. “I took a puck in the face during warm-ups and the shot to the foot in the third, so that’s quite a good start to the year. But hopefully, I’ve got those out of the way now.
“I felt really good in the last game. It was great to see some of the work I did in the summertime paying off, so now we build on that [against Detroit] and keep things moving. There are a lot of great players here [in camp] and there’s great competition. I’m just here to play my game and prove myself, and I’ve got all the confidence in the world I can do that.”
Now that he’s been given a full bill of health again, Beleskey will get just that chance skating with Sean Kuraly and Ryan Fitzgerald on Saturday night in Hockeytown amid a deeply competitive situation for Boston’s third line. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for the Bruins against the Red Wings in Boston’s fourth game of the preseason:
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while amazed at what has united Lebron James and Steph Curry in this wacky country of ours.
*Sean Avery has some brutal things to say about John Tortorella in his new “screaming for attention” book, but then again Avery is one of the biggest low-talent dirtbags that the NHL has ever seen. So you probably need to consider the source.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) John Shannon has a few thoughts on where the NHL needs to go in their relationship with China now that they’ve played preseason games there.
*Pro Hockey Talk has the details as Steven Stamkos stood out in his preseason debut and the first game back from last season’s injury.
*The NHL has yet to determine whether or not Marian Hossa is eligible for LTIR with a skin issue that is expected to be career-ending.
*PK Subban talks about his rule of thumb while staying away from controversy with an active social media account.
*Mark your calendars for the annual Comics Come Home event on Nov. 18 to raise money for the Cam Neely Foundation. Here Neely talks with SI about his friendships with a number of local comics, and how the comedy event became a tradition in Boston.
*For something completely different: Today marks the 40th anniversary of David Bowie’s classic “Heroes”, so it feels like a good time to get the story behind it.