Is the Bulin Wall crumbling?
On Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks’ back-up goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was pulled just past the midway point of the second period after allowing four goals on 22 shots.
It’s the second consecutive start in which the 40-year-old veteran puck stopper has struggled to, well, stop pucks.
Five days ago, he gave up six goals on just 25 shots faced.
So, in two of three starts, he hasn’t necessarily given his teammates, including starting netminder Corey Crawford, sterling performances. For Crawford, Tuesday’s game was supposed to be a night off to rest up.
Instead, Crawford had to come back into the game after playing the night before. This may begin a discussion about whether the Blackhawks, defending Stanley Cup champs, have confidence in Khabibulin as the back-up going forward.
Of course, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was saying all the right things prior to the game.
“We’re comfortable that he’s going to be a big part of it and help us out as we go along here … play well in front of him,” Quenneville said of Khabibulin, according to Brian Hedger of NHL.com.