February 26, 2013
Khabibulin's strong play complicates Oilers goaltending picture

Nikolai Khabibluin has made an impact on the Oilers goaltending picture with his strong play recently. (Codie McLachlan/QMI Agency)

EDMONTON - There isn’t supposed to be a goaltending controversy when one is a 40-year-old in the final year of his contract and the other is a 26-year-old with a new deal.

And the Edmonton Oilers say there isn’t one now.

But with Nikolai Khabibulin playing 11 of the last 15 periods, and playing them rather brilliantly, the goaltending situation, if not controversial, is at least a little cloudy.

The Oilers appeared to have settled the issue in the first month of the season, when Khabibulin was injured and Devan Dubnyk seemed to have finally solidified himself as the undisputed No.1 guy. Dubnyk turned in some stellar play and was winning games and stealing points all by himself.

But he got a first-period hook against Colorado (Feb. 16) after giving up three goals on 12 shots and allowed three on 28 in his next outing — a 3-1 loss to Minnesota.

Enter Khabibulin. The veteran arrived with a flurry, allowing just five goals on 90 shots for a 1.89 GAA and .942 save perc