Dallas Stars Daily Links: Anton Khudobin’s League-Leading Start

Is the Russian Buddha an Absolute Good in a world that badly needs it? You decide. Plus, the Carolina Hurricanes’ return, the Seattle Kraken’s bench boss search, and more.

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that the Dallas Stars had two goalies who underwent offseason surgery. Ben Bishop’s knee procedure made headlines, and his complete recovery could extend into early April. But in the meantime, neither Anton Khudobin’s hand operation, nor his late-autumn bout with COVID-19, have stopped the Kazakh Scorpion from putting up some of the NHL’s best stats.

Three games into the 2021 season, Khudobin leads the league with a 0.99 goals-against average and is second in save percentage at .958. Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika writes about how he’s segued seamlessly from the Stanley Cup playoffs into his current hot start:

Khudobin has been a backup for most of his career, so carrying the load is a bit new. However, he said playing in 25 of 27 playoff games helped get him ready for this season. He currently is not on the ice on off days, and instead sharpens his game with morning skates.

“We played like this in Edmonton, in bubble,” Khudobin said of his routine. “We played every other day, so I like to get sweat and feel the puck in the morning before the game. And when you’re playing every other day, next day (after game), you take a rest, do something in the gym. But (before game), I like to get the feel of the ice, like to get the feel of the skates, equipment, puck … and then just play.”

Even Dobby will need rest eventually, and that’s where Jake Oettinger comes in. His first NHL start will come sooner rather than later, and the budding Star says he’s ready:

Oettinger served as a backup in the playoff bubble and has been a big part of practices for months, so he knows his teammates. He said that’s been helpful in keeping him calm about his first start.

“I just feel like I’m a part of the team and I belong out there,” Oettinger said. “To have a good relationship with all the guys is obviously really important for a comfort level. All the work that I put in in the bubble has just made me so much more confident and given me the belief that I belong out here and I can play really well with these guys.”

There’s always more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]

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