The Bruins’ goaltending situation isn’t exactly as bad as what the Los Angeles Kings are going through, but Boston will have to turn to its AHL goaltenders duo against the Minnesota Wild after their NHL tandem fell injured over the course of the weekend.
The Bruins announced Tuesday that Malcolm Subban, 22, would be getting the start against the Wild with 24-year-old Zane McIntyre, who doesn’t have a single second of NHL experience, backing him up. Subban’s start comes after a string of injuries to Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin that has left Boston without any other real options.
The injury problems started in goal for the Bruins early in the campaign, as Tuukka Rask sat as the backup in Boston’s second game of the season. The backup stint was said to be because of nothing more than some soreness, but that same “general soreness” resulted in Rask missing a second outing Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens, and Tuesday will mark the second consecutive game he’s been sidelined with the ailment.
As for Khudobin, his injury appears to be much more severe. The 30-year-old, who has played in relief of Rask during his two absences, was forced to leave practice early on Monday due to an upper-body injury, and it was announced Tuesday that Khudobin is expected to miss three weeks due to the injury. The specifics were not announced, but a three-week timeline for return means Khudobin won’t be back until at least mid-November.
Under normal circumstances, an injury to Khudobin wouldn’t impact the Bruins much as they’d simply be able to ride Rask and give their starting netminder a break once Khudobin is healthy. However, with Rask dealing with an injury of his own, it’s tough to say just how long he’ll be out and what workload he’ll be able to handle upon returning.
That means a heavier workload could be coming to either Subban or McIntyre, and chances are that Subban is the one who will be seeing some extra time in the NHL with Khudobin on the shelf. It could be a great opportunity for the Bruins and their young netminder, though.
Drafted in the first round, 24th overall, in 2012, Boston has allowed Subban the chance to grow with the AHL’s Providence Bruins over the past three seasons. However, his numbers haven’t quite been sparkling. In 95 games in the minor league, Subban has a 45-31-12 record with a 2.40 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. And in his single NHL outing, which came in 2014-15, Subban surrendered three goals on six shots in 31 minutes of action.
However, Subban has a chance Tuesday to showcase his growth. Khudobin hasn’t exactly been fantastic to start the year — he has a 4.10 GAA and .849 SP — so there’s a real chance for Subban to earn himself some extra minutes in goal down the line if he can piece together the performances to merit another look.
Eventually the Bruins are going to need a netminder who can give Rask a break, and Subban could be that goalie. It will be up to him to prove that in this go around.
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