NostraDavis’ Boston Bruins Player to Watch vs Canucks: Anton Khudobin

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 8: Anton Khudobin
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 8: Anton Khudobin /

After an unfortunate collision during practice, leading to Tuukka Rask’s injury, the Boston Bruins turn to backup Anton Khudobin to provide a spark. The career reserve netminder will be critical to Bruins success tonight in a 2011 Stanley Cup Final rematch.

Anton Khudobin has always been considered a solid backup goalie. Bouncing from the AHL to the NHL throughout the entirety of his career, Khudobin has proved his value as a second or third string goalie. Now, he’s back for his fourth non-consecutive year with the Boston Bruins.

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 8: Anton Khudobin
BOSTON, MA – APRIL 8: Anton Khudobin /

Even after his incredibly shaky campaign last year, he proved his worth towards the end of the season. With Tuukka Rask sidelined, ‘Dobby’, as he’s affectionately known as, provided critical wins down the stretch, allowing the Bruins to secure a playoff spot. However, Khudobin has looked sharp and up to the task in all of his appearances thus far. Obviously with limited shots, the net kinder boasts a .950 save percentage, and a 1.52 Goals Against Average.

The Situation

With Rask going down with a somewhat unknown injury, Khudobin as shown that he can be relied upon this year. That is vital as many still are not sure of the severity of Rask’s injury. This could mean Khudobin could become the Bruins de facto starting goalie for a short stretch. Furthermore, Khudobin needs to set forth a solid outing tonight against Vancouver, so that Bruins Nation is reassured of his capabilities.

Khudobin has had seasons where he’s logged lots of games. Take 2013-14, where the lifelong backup played 36 games, and posted a very respectful .926 save percentage through that. Khudobin is one of many players that are needed to step up as the Bruins push through their current injury bug.

Looking Ahead

Despite the injuries, the Bruins turn to the Canucks tonight in somewhat of a favourable matchup for the B’s. A decent 2-2-1 start for Vancouver, featuring a 3-0 shutout in their last outing against in Ottawa, could signify a decent season ahead for Vancouver. However, when one dives into their roster, the Canucks’ lack of depth is apparent. Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat provide hope for the future, but the Sedins are aging, and their goaltenders are uninspiring.

OTTAWA, ON – OCTOBER 17: Brock Boeser
OTTAWA, ON – OCTOBER 17: Brock Boeser /

The all backup tandem of Anders Nilsson and Jacob Markstrom should not intimidate the B’s nor Khudobin in the slightest. In addition, Khudobin has only played 2 games against the Canucks, winning both, and posting a shutout in one. You have to think that bodes well for Khudobin’s confidence heading into this one.

This game is pivotal for the Bruins, as they look to get back on track, and Khudobin, as he looks to continue his rebound from a horrid previous season. Look for Khudobin to have a strong statistic performance against a lacklustre Vancouver offence tonight. It is for these reasons that Anton Khudobin is tonight’s player to watch.