The Bruins went to the dressing room Thursday in Ottawa after 20 minutes locked in a scoreless tie with the Senators. They were lucky to be able to do that, and they really have one person to thank for that, and that’s goaltender Anton Khudobin.
Boston was sloppy for much of the first period, but Khudobin bailed them out, particularly in the final minute. The backup goaltender, who is playing like a No. 1 goalie as of late, stood on his head in the waning moments of the first.
Khudobin made saves on Erik Condra, Kyle Turris and Jakob Silfverberg, all in the final minute of the period. The best of them came on Turris, who took a pass from behind the net from Colin Greening, walked in all alone on Khudobin and attempted a backhanded shot that the goalie turned away.
The series of saves obviously kept the game scoreless, which is a positive, but more importantly, it kept the Bruins from going into the dressing room with their heads down. They have not been good as of late, and at the very least, Khudobin bought them some time to straighten things out.
Khudobin turned in a similar effort late in the second period as well, where another save on Silfverberg kept the game tied 1-1 heading into the third period.
When it was all said and done, Khudobin racked up 27 saves. In the process, he ran his record to 6-2-0 on the season to go along with a 2.14 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.
Between Khudobin and No. 1 goalie Tuukka Rask, the Bruins have a 1-2 punch in net that not many teams can match. Some might see Khudobin pushing for more playing time and putting the pressure on Rask, but Bruins head coach Claude Julien doesn’t necessarily see it that way.
“I think right now it’s not so much about pushing, which is not a bad thing, but it’s about having two great goaltenders and keeping them as fresh as you can and as sharp as you can,” Julien told reporters after the game in Ottawa. “If you have that combination, and I think Ottawa has and a few other teams around the league have, then you’re giving yourself a better chance.”
What Khudobin did Thursday in Ottawa in stealing a win for the Bruins is something they could actually use a little more out of from Rask. In a game that the Bruins really had no business winning for much of the night, it was Khudobin who gave them a chance to win. He stole the win for the Bruins, and for a team that is sputtering a bit right now, you can’t ask much more of your goaltender, regardless of whether it’s the starter or backup.