Khudobin to get first start of season vs. Hurricanes

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Khudobin to get first start of season vs. Hurricanes

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.

Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

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Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

It’s only a coincidence that it will air the same week that the Boston Bruins went Hollywood with their annual three-game road trip through California, but David Backes and his wife Kelly are going to get some solid TV time this weekend. The animal-loving couple are going to be featured Saturday night in the all-new Animal Planet special "Stars to the Rescue," which highlights the Backes family’s excellent work to ensure every animal has a ‘furever’ home.

The lifelong animal lovers have adopted five rescue pets that all made the move from St. Louis to Boston this summer, and launched Athletes for Animals in 2013, a non-profit organization supporting professional athletes and animal advocacy efforts. The 32-year-old Backes chose a Boston animal shelter as his first setting to meet with the Boston media this summer after signing with the Bruins in free agency, and spoke glowingly about his inspiration for marrying two of his passions: helping animals and sports.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," said Backes, the proud owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty and Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly). "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said, ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

The “Stars to the Rescue” special premieres on Saturday night at 8 pm on Animal Planet where there will be a full segment on the Backes family, but here’s a clip where Backes talks about his well-publicized involvement with a number of stray dog rescues during his 2014 Olympic Hockey stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia.

Backes isn’t the only Boston athlete featured during the Animal Planet special as it also chronicles the stories of other well-known athletes and celebrities and the dogs they can't live without: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley, Selma Blair, ESPN Correspondent Michelle Beadle, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and more. From training buddies to comforting companions, “Stars to the Rescue” shows first-hand how these celebrities first met their cute rescued canines and how their dogs have impacted and transformed their lives for the better.

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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