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‘Really happy’ to be back in Boston, Khudobin will be key for Bruins

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The Boston Bruins missed the playoffs again last season, and their backup goalie — Jonas Gustavsson finished 11-9-1 with a .908 save percentage — was part of the reason why.

And, so, finding a better backup became one of three things the Bruins set out to achieve this offseason. (The two other things were getting “heavier” at right wing, which was solved by signing David Backes, and adding a “transitional” defenseman, which has not yet been solved.)

They hope they’ve found the right backup in Anton Khudobin, after giving the 30-year-old a two-year, $2.4 million contract on July 1. Khubobin has been good for the them in the past — he went 9-4-1 with a .920 save percentage in 2013, before leaving to sign with the Hurricanes — but his numbers have dipped considerably the past two seasons. He was sent to the AHL last year as the odd man out in Anaheim. There was a report near the end of the season that he was planning to sign in the KHL, though obviously that never came to fruition.

“It was two good seasons in Carolina,” said Khudobin, per the Bruins’ website. “And last year, I wouldn’t say that it was good, but it was up and down, as you always have in your career. It’s normal. Right now, I’m in my spot and I’m really happy to be back.”

Last year wasn’t a particularly great year for Tuukka Rask either. He went 31-22-8 with a .915 save percentage, well below his career save rate of .924. So in essence the Bruins will be hoping that both their goalies can bounce back. If that happens, a return to the postseason could be the reward.

“Focus on helping the team get some more points and get higher in the standings,” said Khudobin. “Making playoffs always [is the goal]. … I know Tuukka is going to play more and he’s No. 1, so I just focus on my game and how I’m going to help the team.”

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.