Anton Khudobin apologized Monday for being late to practice Saturday, but won’t start when the Dallas Stars host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, NBCSCH, NHL.TV).
“It was a tough decision,” coach Rick Bowness said Tuesday about not starting Khudobin. “This gives Anton a couple of days of practice with Jeff (Reese, Stars goaltending coach) and get his game back. Anton’s our No. 1, there’s no issue there and he’s going to play this week.”
Khudobin said Monday 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.
“I’m happy to be back,” Khudobin said. “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.”
Jake Oettinger, who made 33 saves in the loss Sunday with Landon Bow backing him up, will start.
“When Jake’s coming off a game like that, he’s your young goalie, you know you’re going to depend on him a lot moving forward, it was important for us to get him right back in there,” Bowness said. “Again, it just gives Anton a couple of extra days of practice, but you’re going to see Anton here pretty quick.”
Khudobin is 3-2-1 with a 2.51 goals-against average, a .908 save percentage and one shutout in six games 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 Monday after being in NHL COVID-19 protocol from Jan. 31 until Sunday. Bowness said the defenseman won’t 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, who has scored 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in nine games.
Pavelski and forward Roope Hintz will play after each had 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.