The Boston Bruins let a third period lead slip away for the first time this season as the Carolina Hurricanes clawed back from a two goal deficit to beat the B’s in overtime 3-2. Bruins backup Anton Khudobin once again looked sub-par for the Black and Gold in the loss.
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The Boston Bruins are approaching the Christmas break and the midway point of the 2016-17 season. The B’s are holding on to a three point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning for the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
For the most part, the Bruins have corrected many of the mistakes that plagued them in the opening months of the season. They’ve made corrections to the forward lines to increase goal production. The team has worked hard with the young blueliners to correct errors and reduce defensive breakdowns. While it hasn’t been perfect, the Bruins have shown progress in nearly every area of the ice, save one.
The Bruins Jekyll-and-Hyde performance is certainly represented with their pair of goaltenders. Tuukka Rask is playing one of his best seasons for the Black and Gold. He’s no lower than sixth in every major category a goaltender can be judged on. His name is already being floated around by NHL experts as a potential Vezina candidate.
Then there is Anton Khudobin. The Bruins number two was supposed to provide stability in net and the chance for Rask to rest. Right now, the Bruins are having a tough time giving Khudobin games. Simply put, Khudobin will likely lose the game for the Bruins if he’s in net. His numbers are ugly, and tonight’s loss didn’t make them look any better.
Khudobin is currently 1-5-1 in his seven starts this season. His goals against average is still over 3 per game (3.06). His save percentage is still sub .900, sitting at .885. This is totally unacceptable for a goaltender. Khudobin is playing this season like Rask was playing last season, but even worse (if that’s possible).
The Boston Bruins might just have to bite the bullet and take another look at Zane McIntyre. McIntyre has been on a tear with the Providence Bruins this season. He’s currently 8-0-0 with the Baby Bruins, and the rest of his stats are amazing. He’s got a 1.28 goals against average and a .956 save percentage.
To be fair here, his stats are AHL-level stats. Also, his early start with the Bruins this year was ugly. Perhaps these last few months have shown that he’s learned from his early drubbing and he’s ready to take on more responsibility. McIntyre looks more poised in the net than Khudobin does right now.
Maybe they need to send Khudobin down for a few games in Providence to get his head on straight (or scratch him for a night or two). If the break helps him improve, great. If not, then the B’s should be ready to make the move necessary to keep the Black and Gold back in playoff contention.