BOSTON, MA – For the first time this season on Saturday night, Anton Khudobin started in back-to-back games. After playing well in the Bruins 2-1 win over Ottawa Thursday, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien felt that Khudobin deserved to get another start.
Khudobin, however, allowed three goals to the Toronto Maple Leafs, on 11 shots, and was pulled in favor of Tuukka Rask just 1:34 into the third period when Frazer McLaren made it 3-0.
Julien said his decision to play Khudobin, in addition to rewarding him for his good play, was to give Rask a break with another big week of games ahead.
“Tuukka is Tuukka, he's hard on himself,” Julien said following practice at TD Garden on Sunday. “My thinking behind that too, Khudobin has played well for us this year. After playing that game in Ottawa where he was really good, he deserved a second start.
“When I anticipated this week coming up, Tuukka would have lots of opportunities to play, so it was more about based on what I saw coming up, and on his play.
“Unfortunately, it didn't pan out that way, but Tuukka went in there [against Toronto] and I thought he was solid with the shots that he got in that third period.”
Rask was not sure of his coaches plan beforehand, but believes it was good for both he and Khudobin and does not think two consecutive games off will shake his confidence.
“No, I like to play every game, obviously. I didn't take it too personally,” Rask told the media after practice. “I play good games, I realize that. There's tough losses there. I let in two goals against Pittsburgh and Winnipeg—we lose the games. I wasn't awful, so it shouldn't shake my confidence.
“[Anton] played really good at home and then in Ottawa. I thought he deserved to play, and extra rest for me. I think it was good for both of us.”
The condensed schedule has delivered games fast and furiously of late, but Rask doesn’t believe it’s the reason for the B’s recent struggles.
“It's easy when you win, right?,” Rask said of the schedule. “I don't think we're overly tired, but I think that our heads have not been in the right place. We've kind of had those tough games where we don't do the things we're supposed to, and then the results are not there.
“It's tough, but also it's easier to bounce back the next day. You don't have to wait three or four days for the next game.”