Chicago Blackhawks’ Nikolai Khabibulin Will Be Tested Against Nashville Predators

Chicago Blackhawks: Khabibulin

David Banks- USA TODAY Sports

Nikolai Khabibulin is scheduled to be the netminder tonight as the Chicago Blackhawks take on one of their biggest inner division rivals, the Nashville Predators.

Khabibulin currently sits with a 1-0-1 record for the Hawks. When he was in the net back on October 29 against the Ottawa Senators he started out playing pretty well. But after allowing four goals on 26 shots coach Joel Quenneville pulled him out of the net, and Corey Crawford was sent in to do some damage control.

Khabibulin has a GAA of 4.74 which is just absurd. This number is even more of an abomination when you take into consideration Crawford’s gas of 2.31. There is obviously a large margin there.

While it worries everyone to have Khabibulin in the net he has had a great deal of time to improve his game. Tonight’s matchup against the Predators will be test to see if Khabibulin really can stay in the NHL and have any hopes of continuing his career.

More importantly, Corey Crawford needs a break. He has played nine games in a row without a night off, and during the regular season that is pretty hardcore. The goalie spends the most time out on the ice, and it is not hard to imagine the strain that would pose.

The Blackhawks have shown signs of tedium after two contests back-to-back. For a goalie to play nine games in a row is not good, and Crawford could himself start showing signs of needing a break.

Tonight’s game is an important test for Khabibulin, and it will be an important show of if he can step up and be a more worthy piece of the Chicago Blackhawks’ puzzle. He needs to bring every ounce of game he has not only to maintain the Blackhawks’ winning streak and to continue to propel them toward the top of the Western Division, but the most important reason is for Khabibulin to restore faith in his abilities to the Blackhawks faithful.

Kelsey Meyer is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for RantSports.com, follow her on Twitter @storminmormon20 and add her to your network on Google. 

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