Back on Dec. 23, Anton Khudobin stopped 20 of 23 shots in Boston’s 3-2 OT loss to his former team, the Hurricanes.
Since then, he’s had exactly one start.
That came back on Feb. 11 — a 4-3 win over the Canucks — and tonight, Khudobin get another look as the B’s play the second of a California back-to-back in L.A.
Tuukka Rask played and lost last night in Anaheim, allowing four goals on 25 shots, so it’s little surprise Boston’s making a switch. Rask has been one of the NHL’s busiest netminders this season — starting 48 games, tied for fourth-most in the league — and there have been concerns about potential fatigue.
The problem, of course, is that neither Khudobin or AHLer Zane MacIntyre have earned much trust. Former head coach Claude Julien didn’t have faith either could provide consistency, and Bruce Cassidy appears to be of the same mind. Cassidy has started Rask in four of five games since taking over from Julien behind the bench.
On this note, we should mention GM Don Sweeney did say the B’s could add a goalie at the deadline.
For the Kings, Peter Budaj is in goal.
— The streaking Henrik Lundqvist gets a big test tonight, as the Rangers take on the high-flying Leafs in Toronto. Frederik Andersen will be in goal for the Buds, after allowing four goals on 20 shots in a OT win over Winnipeg on Tuesday.
— Pekka Rinne appears ready to start in Nashville, after allowing four goals on 13 shots (and getting pulled) in Tuesday’s loss to Calgary. No word yet on an Avs starter, but Calvin Pickard has started four straight.
— Mike Smith is playing well lately, have won four of five while posting a .936 save percentage, so he’ll draw back in tonight in Chicago. The ‘Hawks are countering with Corey Crawford, who has won five of his last six.
The odd man out after Monday’s acquisition of Michael Stone from Arizona, Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman says he’s open to being traded, in spite of his no-movement clause.
“If that’s something that (the Flames) want to do, then they can call and I definitely would be open to it,” Wideman said, per the Calgary Herald. “I think, as a player, you don’t want to be anywhere that you’re not wanted. So if they want to move you and someone wants to take you, then it’s nice to go somewhere like that if that’s the case.”
Read more: Flames see a ‘style fit’ with Stone
Wideman, 33, is in the final year of his contract. But with a $5.25 million cap hit, he may be tough to move, even if the Flames retain salary.
Wideman was a healthy scratch in Calgary’s 6-5 OT victory Tuesday at Nashville. In 52 games this season, he has three goals and 13 assists.
The Bruins have seven wins in their last 10, are surging under new head coach Bruce Cassidy and could be buyers as they head into the March 1 trade deadline.
One guy that unlikely to be involved any potential deal? Talented young blueliner Brandon Carlo.
Bruins GM Don Sweeney told the Boston Globe the B’s “want to be a team that believes it has internal fixes, that you are growing those players.” To that end, he’s not planning to move Carlo, who has developed nicely and played a significant role this season.
Sweeney added this organizational approach means Carlo isn’t “worried [about] going somewhere.”
Carlo, who only turned 20 in November, has reportedly been one of the pieces teams have tried to pry out of Boston (the other being Charlie McAvoy, the 14th overall pick at last year’s draft that’s currently starring for Boston University).
At 6-foot-5 and 203 pounds, Carlo has terrific size and has shouldered a heavy workload, averaging over 21 minutes through 60 games this year.
There have been rumblings of a Carlo-for-Gabriel Landeskog swap with Colorado, though reports suggest Sweeney balked at the asking price.
What Sweeney could address, though, is the club’s unstable backup goalie position. The organization appears to have little trust in either Anton Khudobin or Zane McIntyre, a big reason why Tuukka Rask has started 48 games this season, tied for fourth-most in the NHL.
“Yep, we could,” Sweeney told the Globe, when asked about adding a backup. “It’s tough to find at this time, but they exist. But it’s just a matter of teams are like, ‘Well, what are you giving up for it?’ That’s a big part of it.”
There are a few candidates that might fit the bill. Anders Nilsson is a pending UFA and having a solid campaign in Buffalo, with a .922 save percentage in 20 appearances. What’s more, he carries a relatively low cap hit ($1 million). The Sabres, though only four points out of a playoff spot, would need to jump five teams to get there and could be sellers soon.
The Isles have come alive under interim head coach Doug Weight, and rallied to move into the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
There’s no question they want to keep the momentum going. Which is why today’s news might be met with action.
Cal Clutterbuck, hampered by an “annoying” soft-tissue injury, also left Tuesday’s contest. Another forward, Shane Price, is on IR with an upper-body ailment, and has missed the last five games.
The end result? New York finished with just 10 forwards against the Red Wings, and appear ready to insert 35-year-old AHL recall Bracken Kearns into the lineup.
It all makes for a pretty dicey situation, especially since the club has eight dates remaining on a whopping nine-game road trip.
More, from Newsday:
Perhaps it’s good that next Wednesday’s trade deadline is fast approaching.
General manager Garth Snow was already believed to be on the hunt for another forward, preferably a top-nine player. Cizikas’ injury may accelerate Snow’s talks, which have not had much traction in a market where sellers’ demands have been sky high so far.
If Cizikas misses the four full weeks, that puts him on target for a Mar. 23 return — meaning he’d miss the next 13 games. And it’s hard to say what the club can get out of Clutterbuck, who has missed 13 of the last 17 contests and is clearly playing through pain.
The Isles have made the playoffs in each of the last two years, and both times Snow’s made minor upgrades at the deadline. Last year, he acquired Prince from Ottawa, which turned out nicely — he had three goals and four points in 11 playoff games, averaging just under 14 minutes per night.
In 2015, Snow acquired both Michal Neuvirth and Tyler Kennedy, but neither had a major impact.