Khudobin making a name for himself with second win

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Khudobin making a name for himself with second win

BUFFALO Claude Julien might have raised an eyebrow or two with his choice to start Bruins backup goaltender Anton Khudobin against a divisional opponent in Buffalo after three straight off days. But his original plan had Tuukka Rask making the start on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and No. 1 goaltender of Kazakhstan getting his second start for the Bruins on Sunday night against Buffalo.

Julien decided to stick with his original goaltending plan to start Khudobin on Sunday night, and then come back with Rask Tuesday at home against a talented, top-heavy New York Rangers club. It showed a good level of confidence in Khudobin when the Bruins easily could have slid Rask into the open spot and just kept on riding the hot Finnish goaltender.

We were looking at the back-to-back games and Tuukka was supposed to play on Saturday night, said Claude Julien. But you know what? Khudobin is a good goaltender. At one point it just gives Tuukka Rask a little more. Hes not going to get rusty but hes not going to change anything either.

He just looks really comfortable in net for us. I dont know if its the way guys are playing in front of him, but hes just gobbling pucks up and leaving nothing behind. Hes a very good goaltender.

Well, give the Bruins a big check mark in the good idea department. All Khudobin did was stop 25 pucks while looking poised and professional between the pipes and leading the Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the Sabres at First Niagara Center. Clearly the Bruins rebounded nicely in the defensive zone while making life so much easier in front of their goaltender.

It was great, you know? I pretty much got a little rest in the second and third period, said Khudobin. I didnt do much. I just had to stop a couple of saves and pretty much make sure that we keep it scoreless.

Khudobin is now 2-0-0 with a .931 save percentage and a 2.00 goals against average in two starts this season, and has the full confidence of his Bruins teammates whenever Rask needs a night off. His counterpart at the other end of the ice, Ryan Miller, was forced into making the flashier saves with 38 total shots as Khudobin rested in complete victory.

The focus will rightly rest on Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron doing an effective job neutralizing Thomas Vanek and a Buffalo offensive attack that didnt have much of a motor playing their third game in four nights. But Khudobin is becoming a real find for the Bruins and a legitimate NHL goaltender that just needed a chance to establish himself.

Pastrnak's two goals lead Bruins past Panthers, 4-3

Pastrnak's two goals lead Bruins past Panthers, 4-3

BOSTON – The Bruins are undefeated this season when they manage to cobble together three goals in a game. 

It took a little extra as David Pastrnak knifed through former BC defenseman Mike Matheson in overtime for his second goal of the game, and his 15th of the season, to take a 4-3 win over the Panthers at TD Garden. 

It was thought the final offensive push they needed took place in the third period when Ryan Spooner hopped on the David Krejci line with David Backes, and fired a shot at the Boston net that Backes redirected through Roberto Luongo for his seventh of the season. 

But the Panthers tied it up on a Demers goal late in the third period, and that set up Pastrnak’s brilliant one-on-one move for the game-winner for the Black and Gold. 

The Bruins led off the scoring on a nice play by Tim Schaller winning a battle to enter the Florida zone, and then circling around behind the net before burying a one-timer from the slot as he crashed the net to connect with a David Krejci dish headed straight his way. 

The Panthers tied it a period later when the legend, Jaromir Jagr, buried a chance from the slot after his line had hemmed in the David Krejci line and Torey Krug/Adam McQuaid pairing for an extended shift in the Boston zone. It was goal No. 754 of Jagr’s brilliant NHL career as he continues to go strong for the Panthers, and it also tied the game 1-1. 

The Bruins looked like they might haven the lead for good on David Pastrnak’s 14th goal of the season, but it wasn’t mean to be. Pastrnak started it all by protecting a puck and retaining possession from his knees in the corner of the offensive zone. Eventually Patrice Bergeron fired a puck wide of the net, and Brad Marchand unleashed a spinning, no-look pass to a waiting Pastrnak for the easy score past Roberto Luongo. 

The Panthers tied it a second time in the third period when Reilly Smith stripped a puck from Patrice Bergeron going up the center of the ice, and eventually it found its way to Aleksander Barkov for a ripped shot from long distance for his fourth goal of the season. 

Then Florida tied it again in the final minutes of the third on a Jason Demers rebound bid after Mike Matheson’s shot went wide of the net and took a wild carom off the end boards in the exact opposite direction.