Saturday, December 31, 2016
As the Bruins (20-15-4) have proven over and over again already this season, especially when they're at TD Garden, they can't underestimate anyone after they've lost to a bunch of bottom-feeder last-place teams. For whatever reason, the Sabres (13-15-8) are just what ails them since with today's 3-1 New Year's Eve matinee victory, the Black and Gold swept the season series with Buffalo for the first time in either team's franchise history. Of course, keep in mind that when there were fewer clubs in the NHL, the Atlantic Division rivals used to meet up to eight times a season which looking back on it now is pretty funny.
This was a feel-good moment for the B's as they captured back-to-back wins for the first time in nearly a month (Dec. 1, 3, 5), Patrice Bergeron continued to heat up offensively (3 goals in 5 games) while Ryan Spooner (3 goals, 4 assists) and Torey Krug (7 assists) each extended their point streaks to five games apiece. Tuukka Rask (26 saves, 19th win of the season) continued his mastery of the Sabres as he improved to 13-5-1 in 21 career games vs. Buffalo. Boston had won 4-2 in Buffalo on Thursday but they paid a price for those particular two points as David Backes is now out indefinitely with a concussion.
One of the guys that will counted on for more production with Backes out is Frank Vatrano who has been moved up to the second line. He gave Boston a 1-0 lead just 1:28 into the contest with one of his signature quick release shots. Zdeno Chara assisted on Vatrano's second goal of the season (2 goals, 2 assists in 5 games) that fooled Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner (25 saves). Seeking some payback from Thursday when he got bloodied by William Carrier's cheap shot punches while they were tied up by the refs, Adam McQuaid drilled Johan Larsson with a clean hit (that dislocated the left wing's wrist).
Bergy doubled the Bruins' lead in the second period with a one-timer from Spooner and Brad Marchand at 7:04 on the power play. Bergeron had been a ghost in terms of goal-scoring for much of the early going so it's been nice to see him find his game lately. Lehner had started his New Year's Eve drinking early or something as Tim Schaller's harmless backhander beat him at 9:29 of the second period for a commanding 3-0 Bruins advantage. Three goals scored by Boston can feel like double that with their struggles to find the back of the net and couple that with how well Rask has played. The Bruins are now 14-2-1 when they lead by 2+ goals in 2016-17. Krug and Austin Czarnik assisted on Schaller's fifth goal of the season that had to feel a little sweeter against his former team.
As you probably noticed lately, the NHL has done everything in its power to outlaw fighting so even though Kevan Miller and Evander Kane wanted to fight each other later in the second, not to mention many other chippy moments throughout the proceedings, the linesmen and referees weren't having any of it. I understand they want to eliminate needless injuries (most notably concussions) from fights but one of the things that makes hockey so great is the ability to settle things after a cheap play.
North Chelmsford, MA native and BU one-and-done star Jack Eichel always seems to do something when he's at the Garden so he didn't disappoint his friends and family with a one-timer at 19:38 of the second that he hammered past Rask. His seventh goal of the season was assisted by Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart. This was the first time in this campaign that Bergeron has scored in consecutive games and Boston's sputtering power play is slowly figuring things out with goals in four of their last five.
Nearly halfway through the season, Boston still finds itself in third-place in the Atlantic Division. They have 44 points like Ottawa (20-12-4) but the Senators have played three less games. Also, the Bruins are four points ahead of Tampa Bay (18-15-4) going into their meeting with Carolina this evening (Lightning will have 1 game in hand after that). Boston is back at .500 at home and five games over .500 on the road (11-6-4) so I suppose it's good news that they head out of town for five of their next six games.
This week is another one that at least on paper isn't too scary: at reeling New Jersey (14-16-7) on Monday (7, NESN), they host Edmonton (19-12-6) on Thursday (7, NESN) in Milan Lucic's latest return, at Florida (15-14-8) on Saturday (7, NESN) and at Carolina (16-12-7) on Sunday (5, NESN). The Bruins should get points in all of those road games and even though the Oilers have been unexpectedly good this season, I still don't fear them.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Question: how many last-place teams can come into TD Garden in a short amount of time and all leave here with wins? Answer: three (Colorado, Toronto and Islanders). Tonight, Boston (17-14-3) spotted New York (12-14-6) a 3-0 lead in the second period before they finally decided to show a pulse in the third period. By that time it was too late as the Islanders snapped a five-game losing streak (0-4-1) to take the 4-2 decision. It was a nice homecoming for two former Bruins defensemen: Dennis Seidenberg (playing in his first game back in Boston since signing with NY in September) and Johnny Boychuk were both a game-high +2.
Tuukka Rask (16-6-3) has been stellar all season so I guess he was due for an off-night of sorts. He was victimized by two fluky goals and ended up getting pulled for the first time since April 3, 2015 (at Chicago). He finished with 10 saves and three goals allowed. Anton Khudobin made 15 saves in his appearance that began at 13:42 of the second period. He actually picked up his first career NHL point (an assist) but he allowed an Islanders power play goal in the third period that effectively closed the curtain on this one. New York goaltender Thomas Greiss (7-5-0) made a career-high 48 saves as Boston had a season-high 50 shots on goal (95 shot attempts!).
The B's hadn't played since Sunday afternoon's 1-0 win vs. LA, so they were sitting around at home since then and thus there really is no valid excuse for coming out so slow once again. Rask and Brad Marchand ran into each other behind Boston's net, allowing Anders Lee to knock in an early Christmas present at 3:05 of the first period. Lee's team-leading 11th goal of the season was unassisted. Another rare mistake happened a few moments later as Patrice Bergeron got caught up ice, leaving New York with a 3-on-1. Thomas Hickey beat Rask glove-side with a shot at 5:40 for a 2-0 lead. Josh Bailey and Lee had the assists on Hickey's tally.
Boston's offense had two near misses in the second period as Patrice Bergeron and Austin Czarnik each hit the crossbar in quick succession. New York took a commanding 3-0 lead at 6:18 on yet another bizarre strike. Boychuk dumped the puck in Boston's zone, it bounced off the end boards (and eluded Kevan Miller's stick) before Rask got handcuffed by it on the goal-line. Nikolay Kulemin was there to smack it in for his fourth goal of the season.
As we all predicted, Bruins rookie Anton Blidh sparked the comeback attempt when his centering pass intended for goal-machine Jimmy Hayes deflected by Greiss off of Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy's skate. The first goal of Blidh's NHL career was assisted by Brandon Carlo and Khudobin just 3:04 into the third. After rightfully booing the Bruins off the ice to end the second, the Garden crowd finally had something to cheer about and they really got loud for a few minutes after Dominic Moore tipped in Zdeno Chara's shot from the point at 7:12. Moore's eighth goal of the season was also assisted by Hayes (his 1st helper of the season).
New York head coach Jack Capuano (a Rhode Islander) sensed his team falling apart and smartly took his timeout to settle them down. It worked as they were able to hold off the Bruins and get the insurance goal they needed when Lee received another easy tap-in at 13:02. Khudobin lost the puck in his pads with the assists going to Bailey and Leddy. Boston ended up outshooting New York 23-9 in the third. It seemed like they had a power play (a good one though, not theirs) for almost the entire 20 minutes and they put tons of pressure on the Isles but they never completely cracked like you hoped that they would.
The good news for Boston is that they get to go on the road where they are much better (9-5-3) than at the Garden (8-9-0) so far in 2016-17. The B's are in Florida (15-13-5) on Thursday (7:30, NESN) before they wrap up things (sorry) before a brief Christmas break (Dec. 24-26) on Friday (7:30, NESN) in Carolina (13-11-7). Boston is clinging to third-place in the Atlantic Division, two points ahead of both the Lightning (16-14-3) and Panthers. Needless to say, Christmas will be much more enjoyable for the entire team if they can get three or four points on their mini-Southern road trip.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
With David Pastrnak out at least for the next few games after an unexpected minor surgery on his elbow (bursa sac) on Friday, the Bruins' (17-13-3) anemic offense has been put to the test even further. At least this afternoon, they got it done with a result that is basically head coach Claude Julien's dream score. Boston beat Los Angeles (16-13-2) 1-0 this afternoon at TD Garden. Tuukka Rask picked up an easy shutout (his 4th of the season, tying him for most in the NHL) with 18 saves as he improved to 16-5-3 this season. Jimmy Hayes of all people scored the only goal as the Kings never really got much going on with 10 shots on goal through the first two periods.
Both power-plays went 0-for-4 and if it feels like Boston usually has had this type of low-scoring game in 2016-17, it's because they have. It was the 22nd time out of 33 games that they have scored two goals or less, they improved to 9-12-1 in those and 3-0-0 in matinees. Originally the Hayes goal, which came at 4:20 of the first period, was credited to Colin Miller but replays showed that the BC product had tipped the puck before it reached Kings goaltender Peter Budaj (29 saves). It was the second goal of the season for Hayes (and only his 2nd point), the other came back on November 27 vs. Tampa Bay. He's on a hot streak now! Colin Miller and Dominic Moore had the assists on the lone tally of the contest.
Sadly, about as rare as a goal by Hayes these days is an actual fight in the NHL but wouldn't you know the fans were treated to one of those as well. What an early Christmas gift! Kevan Miller dropped the gloves with Kyle Clifford later in the first period and those are each legitimate tough guys. Marian Gaborik (who only has 1 goal in 9 games this season) and Dustin Brown (4 goals in 30 games) were scratches for the Kings who are similarly offensively-challenged as the Bruins. UMass legend Jonathan Quick is out (groin) until at least February so it'll be tough for LA to hold onto a Wild-Card spot in the Western Conference. Granted, that's the least of Bruins' fans worries at this moment. They just want to see the Black and Gold back in the postseason for the first time in three years. It's been way too long!
Boston hosts the reeling Islanders (11-13-6) on Tuesday (7, NESN) at the Garden. Rhode Islander Jack Capuano, the head coach of the Isles, has to be on the verge of getting fired since somehow his team is currently in last-place in the Eastern Conference. It'll be a nice little reunion with former Bruins Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg back in town and isn't that what the holidays are all about? All told, the B's have three games left before a mini-Christmas break (Dec. 24-26). They are at Florida (14-13-5) on Thursday (7:30, NESN) and at Carolina (13-11-7) on Friday (7:30, NESN). Out of a possible six points available next week, I'm thinking that they should grab at least four from that trio of winnable opponents.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
In any professional sport, every team will face a rough stretch with tons of games (and travel) condensed into a short amount of time. That's why it is pointless fodder (although always a favorite crutch for my fellow lazy media members) to whine about such circumstances since at some point, everyone will have to deal with it. With all that said, the Bruins (16-13-3) have to be happy that they finally get two days between games for the first time in nearly a month (Nov. 20-21). After getting three out of four unlikely points with a 2-1 overtime win in Montreal (19-6-4) on Monday and a 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh (20-7-3) last night, they returned to TD Garden and lost 4-3 to the Ducks (16-10-5) this evening.
The season-long trends for the B's of losing in Game 2 of back-to-backs (1-5-0) and Game 3 of three-games-in-four-nights (3-5-0) continued along with the even more troubling poor play when anyone not named Tuukka Rask (15-5-3) occupies their net. Backup goaltender Anton Khudobin (1-5-0) clearly isn't the same guy he was in his first go-around with the Bruins back in 2013 but it doesn't help that his few starts are usually marked by team-wide shitty outings.
A new wrench was thrown into Boston's usual script for home losses as they actually jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period only to see Anaheim quickly erase that. Boston dropped to 11-2-0 this season when they lead by 2+ goals. The Ducks went up 3-2 early in the second period and the Bruins tied it up but once again, Anaheim had the last laugh. The game got off to such a crazy start that it was a shame to see it end in such an anti-climatic fashion (with 0 goals in the final 34:58). It was a battle of backup goaltenders with Khudobin (23 saves) facing your boy Jonathan Bernier (6-2-1) who finished with 31 saves.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara blasted home a shot from the point at 12:07 of the first period. David Backes and Brad Marchand assisted on Chara's second goal of the season (his 1st goal in 22 games and 1st point in 8 games). Only 13 seconds later, Austin Czarnik doubled Boston's advantage with a one-timer from Ryan Spooner and Riley Nash. The rookie has slowly started to find his legs in the NHL with two goals and two assists in the last six games. It turned into video game hockey as Andrew Cogliano cut it to 2-1 just 24 seconds after Czarnik's strike. The three goals in 37 seconds was the most in a Bruins game since Boston and St. Louis combined for three in 34 seconds on Dec. 19, 1987. In truth, it was an own goal as Cogliano passed it to Jakob Silfverberg but the latter whiffed while David Krejci accidentally put it in his own goal. Woof.
Earlier in the frame, Khudobin had stopped a partial breakaway on Silfverberg but then Kevin Bieksa tied it up at two by jumping out of the penalty box and taking a stretch pass by Ryan Getzlaf (his 23rd assist, 2nd most in the NHL) before he beat Khudobin. Former Northeastern Husky Josh Manson went to the net and was rewarded with a juicy rebound right on his stick with Khudobin way out of position. His 1st goal of the season came 55 seconds into the second period with Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell picking up the assists. Krejci scored one for his team which was nice (his 6th of the season), depositing a power-play goal from Backes and Torey Krug at 2:06.
Rakell put in a rebound at 5:02 of the second period which turned out to be the game-winner. Sami Vatanen and Cam Fowler assisted on Rakell's 12th goal of the season (he was also named the 1st star of the game). The B's will have no practice tomorrow and then probably a light workout on Saturday before they host the Kings (15-12-2). Los Angeles is in Pittsburgh tomorrow night so unlike many of their recent contests, Boston will be waiting for someone to visit them rather than the other way around. Tonight's loss dropped them to under .500 at the Garden (7-8-0) in 2016-17. The Kings are hanging onto the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference but without star goaltender Jonathan Quick (what up ZooMass?) out until March with a groin injury, it's doubtful that they'll be able to hang on to it. The B's will have to take advantage of playing a West Coast team on Sunday afternoon (1, NESN), granted the Kings' bodies should be used to the Eastern Time zone by then.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Every game in the marathon known as the 82-game regular season of the NHL is for all intents and purposes worth the same: two points. However, that doesn't mean that they always feel like they have the same exact worth. If you beat a quality team or even get a point against them (think that 4-3 overtime loss to Washington on Wednesday), that is seen as a good thing. Conversely, when you lose to the dregs of the league, there is no putting lipstick on that pig. Boston (15-12-2) lost 4-2 to lowly Colorado (10-15-1) on Thursday which was depressing enough and they followed that up with another poopfest, a 4-1 setback to Toronto (11-10-5) tonight at TD Garden.
Along with their alarming lack of goal-scoring (outside of one David Pastrnak), Boston's latest issue has been allowing the first goal. They have done that in the last three games and in fact, they have been down 2-0 to the Capitals, Avalanche and Maple Leafs so it's no wonder that they only got one point out of a possible six points in that stretch. Boston outshot Toronto 11-2 in the first period (tied for the fewest shots they've allowed in a frame this season) but weren't able to find the back of the net. The Maple Leafs took a 1-0 lead 1:44 into the second period as American hero Auston Matthews (the No. 1 pick this past summer) beat Tuukka Rask (16 saves) top shelf. William Nylander had the assist on Matthews' 12th goal of the season (tied for the team-lead) after Pastrnak had turned over the puck in his own end.
Zach Hyman tipped in a floater from the point by Jake Gardiner, giving Toronto a 2-0 advantage at 15:14 of the second period. Former Bruins great Matt Hunwick had the second assist on Hyman's (tough name) fourth goal of the season. Unbeknownst to everyone in the world except his family and agent, Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (32 saves) is now 6-0-0 in six career games against the B's. The good news for the Bruins is that if they get to the playoffs this spring, at least he won't be there. Brad Marchand cut it to 2-1 at 18:39 as he poked in a backhander after a scramble in front of Andersen. David Backes assisted on Marchand's eighth goal of the season. As Marchy noted after the game, they need to get more dirty goals like that to snap this team-wide scoring drought.
Former UNH star James van Riemsdyk put this one away with an acrobatic tip-in of his own at 9:52 of the third period to make it 3-1 in favor of the Leafs. Tyler Bozak made the play happen with a great backhand pass and JVR was out front to get just enough of it to sneak it by Rask. Hunwick picked up his second assist of the game (he had 4 in 17 games coming in) on van Riemsdyk's 12th goal of the season. Connor Brown's empty-netter at 18:27 gave us that gross final score.
On paper (and probably in real life as well), things don't figure to ease up for Boston this week as they go to Montreal (19-6-3) on Monday (7:30, NESN) and then Pittsburgh (18-7-3) on Wednesday (7:30, NBC Sports)-the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. They return to the Garden on Thursday (7, NESN) vs. Anaheim (14-9-5) and they host Los Angeles (14-11-2) on Sunday afternoon (1, NESN). Rask is due to win at the Bell Centre sometime soon, right? Maybe it'll be the old reverse lock against the Canadiens. The Bruins can't let this slide go on for very long or else they'll drop out of a playoff spot; it sounds silly but even this early in the season, it's hard to make up much ground when so many teams are in front of you.
Monday, December 5, 2016
All night at TD Garden, the Bruins (15-10-1) couldn't shake the Panthers (12-11-3). Three different times Boston scored to take a temporary one-goal lead but each time Florida answered with a tying goal. Luckily for the B's and their fans, they employ David Pastrnak who you may have heard has morphed into one of the best goal-scorers in the NHL (see: his overtime goal that gave Boston a thrilling 4-3 win). Pasta had scored earlier in the contest to make it 2-1 and he potted the game-winner at 1:23 of overtime that will undoubtedly be in every highlight reel for awhile (not just hockey).
It was a big two points for the Bruins since the Panthers entered in a bit of a tailspin (after surprisingly firing head coach Gerard Gallant last weekend and replacing him with GM Tom Rowe). Moreover, with Roberto Luongo (9-8-1) in between the pipes for Florida, Boston had to take advantage of the same bozo from the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals vs. Vancouver. In 38 career games against the Bruins, Luongo fell to 15-17-1. Florida won the Atlantic Division last season but Boston still owns them (10-1-0 in their last 11 games in Boston and 15-2-1 in their last 18 games overall) dating back several years now.
After missing six games with a lower-body injury Bruins captain Zdeno Chara returned with a team-high 23:31 time on ice. There was plenty of action in the first period even though it looked like it would end 0-0. Former BC star Michael Matheson had a shorthanded bid stopped by Tuukka Rask (27 saves; 14-4-1). On the other end, Luongo robbed Ryan Spooner (the subject of trade rumors since he hasn't played well so far this season) with a ridiculous glove save. David Backes' one-timer from the doorstep hit Luongo in the chest and rookie Anton Blidh nearly nabbed his first NHL goal when he redirected Adam McQuaid's slap pass just wide. PC's Tim Schaller gave the B's a 1-0 lead at 18:32 (with his 4th goal of the season) when he one-timed a pass from David Krejci (who was stationed behind Florida's net).
The ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr tied it at 9:44 with a one-timer of his own. Florida's great young franchise defenseman Aaron Ekblad fed it to Jagr for his fifth goal of the season (and 754th all-time, 3rd most in NHL history). Pastrnak helped Boston regain a 2-1 lead at 16:37 with help from a slick feed by linemate Brad Marchand. Patrice Bergeron had the other assist on Pastrnak's 14th goal of the season (3rd most in the NHL). It was only a one-goal advantage but the team records were in Boston's favor after two periods: they were 11-0-0 when leading after two and Florida was 1-7-2 when trailing after two.
Obviously, that one-sided sample will change for the B's at some point and it appeared to be this evening as Alexander Barkov tied it at 7:54 of the third period. Patrice Bergeron turned the puck over in his own zone (something which hardly ever happens) and former teammate Reilly Smith was there to pass it to Barkov for an absolute snipe on Rask. Boston responded a little over five minutes later as Backes tipped in Spooner's shot from the half-wall for his seventh goal of the season. Luongo had just reached his bench when Jason Demers scored one last tally that knotted things at three. Matheson and Vincent Trocheck assisted on Demers' fourth goal of the season which came at 18:31 after a fortuitous bounce off the end boards came right to him and he was able to sneak it by Rask from a tough angle.
Pastrnak's goal in overtime as mentioned above was pure filth, some fine Bruins porn if you will. Krejci held the puck and waited for his fellow Czech to go out of the zone then come back in with speed so when he got the puck he was able to work it around Matheson and then Luongo who went down to the ice a bit early. Pastrnak was able to lift the puck with a forehand shot over Luongo as the Garden crowd exploded. Rookie Brandon Carlo had the second assist on Pastrnak's unforgettable strike (which tied his total goal output from last season).
This was the start of another busy week as Boston is at Washington (14-7-3) on Wednesday (8, NBC Sports) before they host Colorado (9-13-1) on Thursday (7, NESN) and Toronto (10-9-5) on Saturday night (7, NESN). The Capitals are still one of the top teams in the NHL and they always seem to give Boston a tough game, no surprise. The Bruins have won three games in a row and they extended their season-long point streak to five games (4-0-1). The Avalanche are currently in last-place in the Western Conference and the Maple Leafs as always are near the bottom in the East so those are two prime matchups for the B's to continue to bolster their home record (7-5-0). So far, this edition of the Bruins is playing moderately better on home ice, one of their main shortcomings that bit them in the ass last season.
Left wing Matt Beleskey is expected to miss the next six weeks after he hurt his right knee in Saturday's 2-1 win at Buffalo. He had gotten off to a crappy start (2 goals, 3 assists in 24 games) but Boston has very little depth at that particular position so it could be a sneaky important loss for the Black and Gold.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
For almost 60 minutes tonight at TD Garden, the Bruins (13-10-1) and Hurricanes (9-9-5) played just about the most boring NHL game that you've ever seen. Then Teuvo Teravainen kicked the puck into his own net with 32 seconds left in regulation, giving the Bruins a much-deserved tying goal (they had 80 total shot attempts!). From there, they battled through a scoreless overtime (Carolina survived a hooking penalty on Viktor Stalberg) and at the end of it all, the B's managed to escape with a 2-1 shootout win after goals by Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak.
Backup goaltender Anton Khudobin (1-3-0) earned the distinction of first Bruins goalie not named Tuukka Rask to earn a victory this season as he made 29 saves. The backups (Subban, McIntyre and him) had been 0-6-0 collectively before tonight. Haha is that bad? They might not have shown it for much of the contest but Boston still owns Carolina (7-0-3 in their last 10 games) including 5-0-2 in their last seven games here against the Hurricanes. One other note for the B's: this was the first time this season that they had rallied for two points after being down after two periods (they had been 0-8-1).
After losing at Philadelphia in a lengthy shootout on Tuesday (3-2), it figures that Boston had to decide things in their third shootout of this campaign. Carolina outshot Boston 12-10 in the first period but neither punchless offense could find the back of the net. Former BC star (and Norwood, MA native) Noah Hanifin once again had a good performance in his hometown as he gave Carolina a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 7:37 of the second period. His shot from the point found a hole through traffic with Jeff Skinner and Derek Ryan notching assists on Hanifin's second goal of the season (he has 2 goals, 2 assists and a shootout winner in his 4 NHL games here).
Boston was lifeless for most of the first two periods and the fans even booed them early in the third (totally within their right after paying for that garbage) when they were on a fruitless power-play. Eventually they flipped that proverbial switch with some serious pressure on Cam Ward (34 saves; 7-8-3). Carolina's No. 1 penalty kill unit in the league acquitted themselves well (4-for-4) so the Bruins ended up scoring their lone goal after they had pulled Khudobin for the extra attacker. Torey Krug took the shot from the point and David Backes created some chaos in front of the net which in turn forced Teravainen to freak out and kick the puck like a soccer player. Haha or something like that. Krug's second goal of the season extended his point-streak to three games (1 goal, 4 assists) while David Pastrnak (9 goals, 2 assists in his last 13 games) and David Krejci (3-game point streak with 1 goal and 2 assists) had the helpers.
The B's dominated in overtime as well, outshooting the Hurricanes 6-2 but they still couldn't find the ocean with their shots. Hat tip to Khudobin for stopping Skinner on two breakaway attempts (a 3-on-0 in the second period then a more usual vintage in the extra session). After Tuesday's shootout lasted nine tedious rounds (Boston was 1-for-9), it was nice that the home team decided things with only needing their first three shooters. Something called Jaccob Slavin scored for Carolina in the first round but Khudobin stepped up with stops on Hanifin and Skinner to mercifully end it. Surprisingly, only Brad Marchand failed to score of Boston's three shooters.
The Bruins know that they were lucky to walk away with two points after such a pathetic showing in so many ways. They are at Buffalo (9-9-5) on Saturday afternoon (1, NESN) as they get their first look at former BU star (and Chelmsford, MA native) Jack Eichel who made his season debut this week after missing tons of time with a severe ankle sprain. The Sabres are improving but that's another club the Bruins own. For the B's there are very few givens anymore left in the NHL so when they meet them, they need to find a way to get a win no matter what. Tuukka Rask has to sleep a little easier tonight knowing that hopefully he won't be run into the ground as Khudobin begins to prove once again that he's a capable backup on a decent team.