This paves the way for Anton Khudobin to make his regular-season debut at some point this week. The 25-year-old Russian has spent the entire year with AHL Providence but, given the injury to Tuukka Rask and Marty Turco’s postseason ineligibility, could be Thomas’ backup when the playoffs begin on Apr. 11.
If that’s the case, no surprise Boston wants to get him some game action down the stretch. Khudobin has gone 21-19-3 in 44 games with a 2.61 GAA and .919 save percentage in Providence, but missed a large portion of March with a wrist injury.
The Bruins signed Turco to fill the void left by Tuukka Rask, who is recovering from a groin injury. The problem is that Turco isn’t eligible to participate in the playoffs, so he could never be more than a short-term fix. Khudobin might start in Tuesday’s game and then Tim Thomas will probably play on Thursday and Saturday as the Bruins get ready for the postseason.
That means that Turco has probably played between the pipes with the Boston Bruins for the last time this season. He might try to extend his NHL career further, but he’ll turn 37 on Aug. 13 and his tenure with Boston produced mixed results. On the plus side, Turco was in net for Boston’s 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday, so if this is the end of his NHL career, then he’ll be going out a winner.
John Grahame back in the NHL, 25 percent rule to follow
Just a few weeks after Marty Turco ended his exile by signing with the Bruins, another former goalie is returning to the league.
ESPN New York reports that John Grahame — who hasn’t played an NHL game since 2008 — has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders. The move suggests the lower-body injury suffered by Evgeni Nabokov is serious enough to sideline him for the remainder of the season (which, it should be noted, only consists of six more games.)
Grahame broke into the league with Boston during the 1999-2000 season and rose to prominence in Tampa Bay, where he backed up Nikolai Khabibulin during the 2004 Stanley Cup championship run, then emerged as the Lightning’s No. 1 following the lockout (after Khabibulin inked for big bucks in Chicago.)
Grahame won 29 games as Tampa’s starter but was ventilated by Ottawa in the playoffs. The Lightning lost the opening round in five games and Grahame finished with a .847 save percentage and 4.79 GAA, leading to John Tortorella’s infamous “25 percent rule” quote (FF to 2:14).
The 36-year-old Grahame has spent his last few years bouncing around the globe. He spent the 2008-09 season with Omsk Avangard of the KHL, then returned to North America to play with AHL outfits Adirondack and Lake Erie.
Sadly, the Isles will not play Tortorella’s Rangers again this year.
Haggerty spoke with injured Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask on Wednesday and learned the 22-year-old is eying a return to the lineup.
“I’d like to get in a game before season is over,” Rask said. “But to be ready for playoffs is the goal.”
Rask hasn’t played since Mar. 3 after suffering a groin/abdomen injury in a 3-2 loss to the Islanders. The injury was supposed to sideline him for 4-6 weeks, which forced Boston to sign Turco out of the Austrian League.
Turco could be a viable option in the near future — after looking shaky in his first two appearances, he was solid in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Anaheim — but since Rask has to be the backup in the playoffs (Turco is postseason ineligible), he’ll need at least one game of work, possibly more.
Rask stated he wants back on the ice next week barring any unforeseen issues, meaning he could be ready to go for Boston’s final three games of the year against Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Buffalo.
Tonight on NBCSN: Boston tries to stay hot against Stamkos and the Lightning
The last time we saw the Lightning and Bruins meet up two weeks ago, the Bolts were busy smacking Tim Thomas and Marty Turco around to the tune of 6-1 while the B’s were in the middle of what would be a four-game losing streak.
When they meet tonight in Boston (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN), the Bruins have turned things around winning four of their last six since then while the Lightning have fallen out of the playoff hunt. For Boston, getting right in time for the postseason is what it’s all about and for them, that means seeing injured players getting back.
Forward Rich Peverley returned against Anaheim and while he’s not a huge name, his importance up front is huge. With the likes of David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Tyler Seguin in need of that pick-me-up, Peverley’s veteran presence and abilities are needed for balance along their lines.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, was happy to throw a wrench in the Flyers’ plans last night and they’ll be looking to do the same to the Bruins yet again. With Steve Stamkos being a force of nature on the ice, breaking the team record for goals in a season last night, it’s the Bolts’ top line that will try to make life miserable for Boston.
While Dwayne Roloson has been red hot of late winning his last three starts, don’t be surprised if you see newcomer Sebastian Caron in goal tonight. Caron is recently back from playing in Germany and the former Penguins/Flyers netminder is looking for his first action of the year. Since Roloson got the call in beating Philly last night, Caron figures to get a hell of a first test against Boston.