WILMINGTON, Mass. --- Following their 2-1 overtime victory over the Senators Thursday, the Bruins, winners of their last five consecutive games, held a short optional skate at Ristuccia Arena Friday morning with only nine players -- four from the Merlot line, two from the Gray and two defensemen -- taking part in a practice for a group of season-ticket holders.
The sight of goaltender Anton Khudobin on the ice was also a sure sign that Tuukka Rask will likely get some well-deserved rest in Saturday's 1 p.m. matinee vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden.
"As I said, we were going to utilize both goaltenders at some point,'' said Bruins coach Claude Julien, who deflected questions about his starting goalie, even though Khudobin confirmed he would start in place of Rask as the Bruins embarked on a grueling stretch of 17 games in 30 days, beginning with the first of four back-to-back games this month.
"Tuukka right now is playing extremely well and we’re really pleased by that,'' Julien said. "But we know that it’s impossible to ride Tuukka through this whole thing, so we’re going to need both of them.''
Khudobin, who has gone 2-1 in the three games he has played this season (a stretch of 178 minutes and 19 seconds), will be making his first start of the season at the Garden.
"Yeah, I'm going to get to play tomorrow, so it's pretty good,'' Khudobin said. "Pretty excited. I didn't play for a while, so it's going to be good. Tampa plays the forecheck hard and creates a lot of scoring chances. So I'll get ready for the game, go out there and play and try to get the 'W,'" he said.
Said Julien, "As far as what I've seen from Khudobin, he's been good as well. We don’t have a concern there as far as utilizing both goaltenders. It’s just that you got a No. 1 who’s doing very well and you don’t want him to lose that groove, so you make decisions based on that and try to keep him fresh and keep him sharp and you want to do the same with the other guy.''