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Nikolai Khabibulin can’t keep this up all season…Right?

Oct 28, 2011, 9:13 AM EDT

Nikolai Khabibulin AP

Coming into this season, no one had any idea what to expect out of Nikolai Khabibulin. He’s 38 years-old, coming off an injury-filled season, and spent part of the summer in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Tent City prison. If anything, expecting a lot out of Khabibulin was probably expecting too much.

Instead, he’s leading the league. He’s got the best save percentage and goals against average in the league beating out headline-stealing Kings stud Jonathan Quick. To top it all off, the Oilers are winning games with a crew of super young kids, common veterans, and nobodies on defense.

To get any wins at all, Khabibulin’s needed to be brilliant – and he has been. Last night’s 2-1 win over the Capitals to make them no longer undefeated showed Khabibulin’s moxie and skills, something not truly seen since his Stanley Cup-winning days in Tampa Bay.

Will it continue though? It’s hard to believe that it will. Keeping a .964 save percentage for the year is virtually unsustainable and the law of statistics means that a regression to the mean is coming eventually either through returning to average play or just being 38 and having age catch up to him.

For now, Khabibulin is bringing the Oilers something they desperately needed: Confidence. Ride that wave til it crashes you out, Edmonton.

  1. bcjim - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Absurd refereeing handcuffed Washington through the second. I fell asleep at that point.

    Were some of those technically accurate calls? Yes. Are they typically called? No.

    The diving on Hendricks was a joke.

    • dowhatifeellike - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:27 AM

      I don’t know how you call someone for diving when you also call the other guy for fouling him.

      • bigbear42 - Oct 28, 2011 at 12:54 PM

        Well thats how the rule used to be: if you called a player for diving you also had to call the player for the penalty that was embellished. It was one of the dumbest rules ever and Im glad they got rid of it.

        And that Hendricks call was pretty weak.

  2. pcjcusa - Oct 28, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    I think Paul Holmgren just bought two bottles of whiskey and two tickets to Arizona.

  3. jpelle82 - Oct 28, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    told ya’ll. was a trap game for washington…now that they got that out of the way losing 1 game every 8 games played is not a bad pace

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