After Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, some people think that there’s a goalie controversy with the Boston Bruins.
Tuukka Rask was solid in net for the B’s in defeat, which was his first start in over a week and a half. His replacement, Anton Khudobin, had led the Bruins to their first extended winning streak, and has been stellar between the pipes all season long.
To me, the answer is pretty clear. There is no goalie controversy. It’s time for the two U’s and two K’s to sit his two cheeks on the bench and watch the new starting goaltender, Anton Khudobin.
Khudobin has yet to be defeated in regulation, sporting a 7-0-2 record this season. He has the third-best save percentage in the league (.932) and the fourth-best goals against average (2.22) among goalies that have played at least eight games.
For comparison, Rask is 25th in GAA (2.91), 36th in save percentage (.899), and has one of the worst records for “starting” goalies in the league (3-8-2).
For one reason or another, the Bruins just play better with Khudobin in net. Rask has been lackluster for most of the season, which is the opposite of the strong play he exhibited at the start of last year, where he basically carried the B’s in spite of several defensive lapses.
The B’s can’t afford to continue to hover around the .500 mark. Even though it is still late November, teams that are currently in playoff positions are likely to stay there, and the Bruins are currently just on the outside looking in. Their schedule through the first quarter of the season has been very friendly, as they have played the fewest amount of games in the NHL and had a majority of their contests on home ice. Their injuries have prevented Boston from really taking advantage of the schedule, but their recent winning streak and the pending return of several key players should give the B’s another well-needed boost. The last thing they would want is to squander that boost with shoddy, inconsistent play in net, which is exactly what Tuukka Rask has provided this year.
You have to ride the hot hand while it is still scorching, and Anton Khudobin has proved that he should be the man between the pipes for the majority of the schedule in the coming weeks. If Claude Julien was still behind the bench, he would likely continue to trot out Rask, as he loved to play his veterans regardless of their on-ice performances. But with Bruce Cassidy seemingly stressing change and showing the willingness to bench underwhelming players, he needs to set the example and sit Rask down for good.
It’s Dobby Time… not Tuukka Time in Boston.