WILMINGTON, Mass. Its expected that Bruins backup goaltender Anton Khudobin will make his season debut at the beginning of this week as Boston enters the compressed portion of its NHL schedule. The Bs will have their first back-to-back of the season on Monday and Tuesday when they travel to Carolina for a tilt against the Hurricanes and host the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
So it gives the Bruins their first opportunity to throw Khudobin between the pipes after Rask backstopped the Black and Gold through their first four games. Khudobin hasnt seen any game action since allowing five goals in the Black and Gold scrimmage two weeks ago, and he is looking forward to doing a little more than practicing.
During practice I just go there, stop some shots and work on my weaknesses, said Khudobin, who went 6-14-4 with a .912 save percentage and 2.96 goals against average for Moscow Oblast Atlant in the KHL during the lockout.
Im just trying to get myself ready in the game. In practices Im just trying to work on something: close shots, far shots, low shots or outside and inside. It doesnt matter. I just go there to practice and work.
If youre going to think youre going to practice for two weeks and then the coach is going to need you to play, and you say Oh Im sorry, but Im not ready because Ive just practiced for two weeks? Thats not going to work. You just have to go out and play no matter how many weeks youve just practice.
Claude Julien hasnt tipped his hand about how Khudobin will be used this week, but it stands to reason Monday nights road game against the Carolina Hurricanes might be the best chance to break him in. After Boston's matchup with New Jersey, they have divisional games against Buffalo and Toronto later this week. With that busy schedule, it might just be the best time to work Khudobin in while keeping Rask sharp for some bigger games on the weekly schedule.
Im sure hell see some action at some point this week with these amount of games, well need to utilize both goaltenders," Julien said. "Well want to see Khudobin get some action as well. Its important for Tuukka to get some rest and also to keep Anton sharp as well.
Khudobin has gone in there and worked hard. Theres no difference from his practice as opposed to anybody else.
His Bruins teammates remember the No. 1 goaltender of Kazakhstan for his 44-save performance against the Ottawa Senators at the end of last season a game where he basically won himself the backup job behind Rask this season.
I remember his game last year in Ottawa and he was very strong for us. Right now its practice, so its always tough to say. I always score on him in practice, thats just practice, said Seidenberg with a laugh. Im sure hell be ready to go when hes called into a game.
The Bruins will play four games in six days starting with Carolina on Monday night, and will have their depth tested -- and perhaps most importantly at the backup goaltender spot where theyll need good play from Khudobin for 10-15 games this season.