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Thursday, December 1, 2016

B's Basically Steal Two Points from the Hurricanes With an Improbable 2-1 Shootout Victory


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.


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