With their top two goaltenders Michal Neuvirth and Tomas Vokoun injured, the Washington Capitals head into tonight’s first round NHL playoff match-up against the Boston Bruins with a netminding tandem of Braden Holtby and Dany Sabourin, two players who spent most of this season playing for the AHL’s Hershey Bears. Neuvirth traveled with the team to Boston, but there’s been no word yet on when he’ll be available.
Washington isn’t the only team with uncertainty in goal. Though not anywhere near as big as what the Capitals are dealing with, the Bruins have a goaltending question mark of their own.
Still recovering from a groin/abdominal injury, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask may not be available to back up starter Tim Thomas in Game 1 tonight. Reporting on Bruins Insider, Joe Haggerty writes, “Rask seems a very big question mark. It looks like he’s not going to be ready to begin the playoffs while recovering from a groin/abdomen strain. That leaves the door open for Anton Khudobin as backup to Tim Thomas.”
Khudobin has only seven games of NHL experience under his belt, but his numbers have been impressive, as he’s posted a 1.32 Goals Against Average and a .961 Save Percentage, playing for Boston and the Minnesota Wild. In the AHL this season for the Providence Bruins, he’s 21-19-3 with a 2.61 GAA and a .919 SV%.
In his lone NHL appearance this season and Bruins debut, Khudobin stopped 44 of 45 Ottawa shots in a 3-1 Boston victory on April 5. “He was outstanding,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said, according to NESN.com. “He was without a doubt our best player and he kept us in the game when we needed him to keep us in the game. He made some great saves, and we certainly gave him a chance to prove himself. That’s for sure. He faced a lot of shots.”
Via Twitter, pro goalie scout and NHL.com writer Justin Goldman of The Goalie Guild described Khudobin as a “very quick, dynamic goalie w/ a narrow stance that has added some good progressive [butterfly] elements to his game this season. Khudobin doesn’t look all that athletic, but he is. Has a fierce determination, strong work ethic, and a great attitude.”
- Bruins Recall Goaltender Anton Khudobin (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Bruins blog ‘Days of Y’Orr’ answers our questions about Caps-Bruins series (brookslaichyear.com)
- Bruins-Caps: Which city wants it more? StubHub says D.C. by nearly 2-to-1 (brookslaichyear.com)