Khudobin unsure to start for Stars against Blackhawks after apology

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Anton Khudobin apologized for being late to practice Saturday, but it is unclear if the goalie will start when the Dallas Stars host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, NBCSCH, NHL.TV).

“I’m happy to be back,” Khudobin said Monday. “Yes, unfortunately, that happened, but it’s not really a big deal. I talked to the coaches, it’s all fine, all settled, so I’m back.”

Khudobin said he didn’t sleep well Friday and missed his alarm the following morning. He skated after practice Saturday and was scratched from a 2-1 overtime loss to the Blackhawks on Sunday.

“It’s over,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “We’ve dealt with it, we move on. That’s yesterday’s news.” 

Jake Oettinger made 33 saves in the loss Sunday with Landon Bow backing him up. Bowness said he and his staff will discuss whether Khudobin or Oettinger starts Tuesday.

“It always goes back to what before the season started: Jake’s going to play, and we’ll monitor his games very closely when he plays,” Bowness said. “But ‘Dobby’ is No. 1 without a doubt. He’s the guy. Jake’s going to play some games. He has to. And we’re very happy with Jake’s performance last night.”

Khudobin is 3-2-1 with a 2.51 goals-against average, a .908 save percentage and one shutout in six starts after signing a three-year, $10 million contract ($3.33 million average annual value) to remain with the Stars on Oct. 9. He missed the start of training camp because of immigration issues after having surgery to fix a nerve issue in his right arm in October, then contracted COVID-19 in Russia.

Andrej Sekera skated with the Stars for the second consecutive day after being in NHL COVID-19 protocol from Jan. 31 until Sunday. Bowness said the defenseman could play Tuesday. Sekera has no points in five games.

Alexander Radulov did not practice, and Bowness said the forward will not play because of a lower-body injury. Radulov, who did not play Sunday, has scored 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in eight games, second on the Stars to Joe Pavelski (15 points in nine games; seven goals, eight assists).

Pavelski and forward Roope Hintz each is expected to play after taking a maintenance day. Forward Joel Kiviranta, who sustained a lower-body injury Jan. 22 and has been practicing since Saturday, will be a game-time decision.

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