NASHVILLE — In Anton Khudobin’s perfect world, he’d still be riding his hot streak and be in a fine rhythm right now.
But Khudobin’s world is not that way. And though he’s still won four consecutive starts, he will have to earn his fifth straight tonight against the Nashville Predators after being a spectator for the last three games while Bruins No. 1 goalie Tuukka Rask worked to get his own groove back.
Will Khudobin be able to jump right back on the horse and continue his winning ways?
“We’ll see (tonight),” said Khudobin with a slight grin. “You always expect that you’re going to play really, really good and you get ready for that. I’m not going to predict anything, but hopefully it will continue.”
As he stood by his locker at Bridgestone Arena, Khudobin did a pretty fare job of playing Hyman Roth, the aging gangster in “The Godfather Part II.” He didn’t actually say the words “This is the business we’ve chosen,” but he might as well have.
“I knew it was going to happen,” said Khudobin of Rask getting the net back at some point. “Am I happy with that? No, I want to play. But I knew Tuukka will get there and play more than me when he’s healthy. So that’s the bottom line. For me, when I’m playing a lot of games it’s easier for me personally. But when I’m sitting on the bench, it never helps. But did I know that situation would come? Yes.”
Khudobin has not played since he stopped 17-of-20 shots in a 4-3 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Black Friday. It was a win over the defending Stanley Cup champions, but it was the least sharp he looked among his four straight wins as he bobbled a couple of pucks that created problems.
Khudobin should have his hands full with the Predators, who are 10-2-1 at home and 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. As his team is coming off one of its best defensive performances of the year in Saturday’s shutout of the Flyers in Philadelphia, coach Bruce Cassidy is not looking for Khudobin to steal anything.
“Just want him to give us a chance to win,” said Cassidy. “Hopefully he’s still in form. That’s the risk you take by not starting him as he sat for a little while. But as a guy that’s used to that, we hope that he’ll find his game quickly and we’re good in front of him.”
Good time with dad
The B’s fathers are along for this trip and, by all reports, thoroughly enjoyed Saturday night in Music City. (The large supply of bottled waters came in handy at Sunday’s optional skate.) Getting the win in Philadelphia certainly helped the mood, but this trip is usually a highlight of the season.
“Everyone wants to do well for their parents,” said Cassidy. “It’s fantastic. We had a great team dinner last night and got to know a few of them away from their sons and hockey. I think it’s a great idea, whoever came up with it. For the guys it’s memories they’ll have and the fathers will have them for the rest of their lives, too. It’s awesome.”
Said Brad Marchand: “It’s fun to see them in this light. They all open up. They’re all excited to be here and be around the team. They’re all opening up, especially at dinner last night. We got to spend a little bit of time together. They’re getting comfortable with one another, especially this morning you see how they’re all kind of integrating together with the players.
“It’s a lot of fun to see them in this light. Normally it’s after a game and you say, ‘Hi,’ quick and kind of move on. But actually getting to know one another and spending time is a lot of fun.”
OK that hit
Marchand, meanwhile, reported no lingering effects from the big hit he took Saturday from Ivan Provorov, and he again pardoned the big Flyers defenseman.
“Things like that happen I hockey,” said Marchand. “You can’t hold grudges. You’re going to take hits like that, you’re going to give hits like that. I don’t think everything like that should be a suspension and I don’t think that was a suspendable one. It was a good hit.” . . .
Jake DeBrusk, who has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury, is on the trip and reported feeling well. If he’s to get into the lineup tonight, a roster move would have to be made because he’s on injured reserve and the B’s are at their maximum 23 players....Read more