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Khudobin Will Get Nod Against the Sharks, Make Second Straight Start

Cassidy riding hot hand between the pipes

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Bruce Cassidy is going to ride the hot hand.

Boston's bench boss made the decision to hand Anton Khudobin his second consecutive start when the Bruins take on the San Jose Sharks in the finale of a three-game West Coast swing on Saturday night.

Khudobin made 27 saves in a victory over the Kings on Thursday and is undefeated in regulation so far this season (4-0-2). The B's backup netminder is also 3-1-0 against San Jose in his career, with a .967 save percentage and 0.99 goals against average, including a 36-save performance in Boston's 2-1 win over the Sharks on Oct. 26 at TD Garden.

"We're gonna go back with Anton," Cassidy said on Friday at the SAP Center. "Obviously a solid game [Thursday] night, good first go around against San Jose. His numbers have been good, so we'll give him an opportunity.

"We're just gonna run with Anton, he's playing well so we might as well enjoy that luxury."

Cassidy had a conversation with both Khudobin and Tuukka Rask on Friday and was not concerned about any kind of rift developing between the pipes.

"Tuukka gets it. Anton's played well," said Cassidy. "We've got a lot of hockey left. It's not like it's some permanent move. It's kind of a gut decision we're going with for tomorrow. Tuukka wishes his fellow goaltender well, he wants to win hockey games, he gets it. That's pretty much the end of the story. Hopefully Anton plays well."

Rask, who has lost three straight starts, was on board with the decision.

"Absolutely, yeah. I would have done the same thing if I was the coach," said Rask. "Dobby played a heck of a game and his results have been there. I haven't been able to get wins the last three starts. It's understandable. The only thing I can do is practice hard, work hard, keep working hard and the results will follow."

The former Vezina Trophy winner has not been displeased with his game or effort this season, despite an .897 save percentage and 2.89 goals against average, his lowest marks since his first season in 2007-08.

"Obviously we look at every game, whether it's a win or a loss and we take the positives and learn from the negative," said Rask. "It hasn't been my efforts or my game - it hasn't been any different from the past - it's just been tough bounces for the most part…I've been happy with my game, but the results haven't been there, so you can't be happy with that."

Video: Cassidy and Rask discuss goaltending situation

Officially Out

Bruce Cassidy officially ruled out forwards Anders Bjork and Brad Marchand for Saturday night's tilt with the Sharks. Both players were dinged up last weekend against Toronto and did not travel with the team.

"They won't come on the trip, we'll have pretty much the same lineup tomorrow," said Cassidy.

Krug Day-to-Day

Torey Krug remains day-to-day and his status for Saturday night is still in question. The Bruins did not skate on Friday, taking the day to instead go over video and participate in off-ice workouts, meaning Krug will have to be re-evaluated in the morning.

Cassidy did say the team does not intend to recall a defenseman from Providence.

"We were happy with the six [defensemen against Los Angeles]," said Cassidy.

Backes, Spooner on the Mend

Running down the list of injuries, Cassidy also provided updates on Ryan Spooner (torn adductor) and David Backes (colon surgery), both of whom have been progressing well in their recoveries.

Spooner was injured on Oct. 15 in Las Vegas, nearly five weeks ago. He was originally labeled with a four- to six-week recovery time.

"Spooner's been skating and doing well," said Cassidy. "When we get home we'll have a better update. I don't want to say out of sight, out of mind, but it does get that way for a coach [regarding updates]."

Backes, meanwhile, underwent surgery on Nov. 2 and is expected to miss eight weeks.

"David is doing very well from his surgery," said Cassidy. "I don't know what part of the protocol he's at, but I understand he's doing well. I don't believe he's skating, but coming around very well, so maybe his recovery is more on the quicker recovery than the longer one."

Cassidy saw Backes at the rink prior to the road trip and is looking forward to having the veteran back around the team, even if he is still absent from any on-ice activity.

"I'm sure we'll see a lot more of him now that he's been cleared to do more of that stuff. What stuff, I wish I could tell you, but he's been able to do some workouts," said Cassidy. "He'll be around the rink starting his recovery. And he's a good man to have around. He's witty, he's got a sense of humor. Nice to have him around."

Opposing View

San Jose is coming off a 2-0 home loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. The Sharks (10-7-0) are third in the Pacific Division, just four points back of the Kings for the top spot.

Logan Couture leads the way for the Sharks with 15 points (10 goals, 5 assists) in 17 games this season. Goalie Martin Jones is 8-5-0 with a 2.13 goals against average and .926 save percentage in 13 starts.

The Sharks rank first in the league in goals allowed (2.24 per game), but are 26th in scoring (2.53 goals per game). The power play is 27th (15.2%) and the penalty kill is ranks 2nd (88.7%).

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