Chicago has lost confidence in Khabibulin
During the course of an NHL season, some games set up better than others for the backup goaltender get the call.
The Blackhawks’ contest against the struggling Oilers on Sunday night at the United Center — their second of back-to-back games — appeared to be the perfect scenario for Nikolai Khabibulin to return to the crease.
Instead, Corey Crawford was in net for the second time in less than 24 hours as Hawks coach Joel Quenneville appears to have lost confidence in Khabibulin to secure two points. The veteran was last seen exiting the ice after being yanked for yielding four goals on 22 shots against the Senators on Oct. 29. That raised Khabibulin’s goals-against average to 4.73 and dropped his save percentage to an anemic .818 in three appearances.
“Khabi, once he gets rolling here, I think we’re going to be fine,” Quenneville said. “He’ll get his turns in the net. We envision him getting back in there and getting his regular starts that we anticipated at the start of the year. He’s working hard in practice to get that chance to get back in there and do what he can do.”
If not against his former team that came in with a Western Conference-low 10 points off a 4-12-2 record, then when?
“The last couple of weeks it’s been a light schedule, and then we go into like four games a week, so we expect to get him in there real soon,” Quenneville said.