The Boston Bruins will have Anton Khudobin in net once again as they take on the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Black Friday at the TD Garden.
Anton Khudobin has been terrific in net for the Boston Bruins over the last few games, and that’s going to keep Tuukka Rask on the bench for now.
Khudobin has earned the last 3 starts in a row for the Bruins, and on Friday he will make his fourth consecutive start. Rask hasn’t seen the ice since a 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on November 15th.
In the 3 starts that Dobby has made in the last week, he has 3 wins, a 1.33 goals against average, and a .963 save percentage. As a whole this season, Khudobin is 6-0-2 with a 2.13 GAA and a .938 save percentage. Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask has struggled at 3-7-2 with a 2.89 GAA and a .897 save percentage. For now, Boston will stick with Khudobin to try to continue this win streak they have established. They’ll have their hands full though as they try to take down the reigning Stanley Cup Champions on Black Friday.
Khudobin’s teammates, like rookie Charlie McAvoy, have taken notice of their goaltenders superb play over this stretch.
“He’s been playing great hockey. He gave us a chance tonight when they put the pressure on — he bailed me out a couple times. When you have a goalie that makes 10 saves in the shootout you owe it to him to get those two points.”
Black Friday clash
The Bruins will take on a limping Penguins squad as Pittsburgh has lost two in a row without scoring an even-strength goal. They’ll also be without one of their stars, Evgeni Malkin. He suffered an upper-body injury last Saturday against the Blackhawks and did not travel with the Penguins to Boston.
Currently, the Penguins are the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Bruins are 11th. Boston will look to continue their winning streak to get back into a playoff spot, although there is still a ton of hockey to be played this season. The B’s have beaten the Pens at TD Garden in each game over the last three seasons, but Pittsburgh won both of their home games against Boston last season for the season series win.
Boston is still developing a lot of their young talent, but it’s coming along rather nicely. Jake DeBrusk and Charlie McAvoy look really strong, but they are likely looking for more from David Pastrnak. He has 18 points in 20 games played, but Boston needs a little bit more. He came on nicely with a nice pass to Patrice Bergeron for a goal in the team’s last game against the Devils, and hopefully, Pasta can use that to begin his scoring-tear this season.
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Stats to keep an eye on
Dobby’s Save %
Anton Khudobin actually leads the league in save percentage at .938. That puts him directly in front of players like Sergei Bobrovsky, Corey Crawford, and Roberto Luongo.
Boston’s Power Play and Penalty Kill
The Boston Bruins are not great on the power play, but luckily, they’re great on the penalty kill. Boston ranks just 18th in the NHL with an 18.8% power play percentage but is 4th with an 84.8% penalty kill. The B’s would love to improve their power play abilities, and perhaps a shakeup will be coming to the lineup soon to create more scoring opportunities.
The Bruins and Penguins will drop the puck for the Black Friday matinee game at 1 PM at TD Garden. Boston will look to get the full 2-points with a win over Pittsburgh to get into the top-10 in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. Brad Marchand and Torey Krug are still questionable heading into the game, so you’ll have to tune in to NBC to see if they take the ice in this one.