Khudobin strong in winning effort for Bruins


Khudobin strong in winning effort for Bruins

RALEIGH, NC As far as season debuts go, it was a performance worthy of Kazakhstans No. 1 goaltender.

Anton Khudobin didnt soar off to the best of starts when he was slapped with a delay of game penalty for stepping outside the trapezoid to play a loose puck 90 seconds into the game.

After that Khudobin did everything in his power as a puck-stopper to support the Bruins in a position to win.

The 26-year-old netminder didnt let in a single bad goal in the Bruins 5-3 win over the Hurricanes at PNC Arena, and executed all the saves in the first two periods when the Carolina skaters were exerting heavy pressure in the Boston zone. Each of the three goals allowed came after a defensive breakdown in front of him or a careless turnover that led to immediate offensive chances.

In either instance it was the skaters in front of him that shouldered the blame for goals scored by Jamie McBain, Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal. Khudobin said he felt completely comfortable after a few flurries early in the seesaw game. In the end it helped him make 29 saves on the evening and ensure that the Bruins goaltending tandem is off to a very impressive beginning.

I felt comfortable after getting a couple of the shots there in the first period. Then you get into a mindset where you stop one, and then you stop the next one, said Khudobin. Its always good. It was a good win and its always good to win.

Its always about the W first and then the stats after that. Of course stats are always good too to help you move on, but Im just happy to get the win.

Khudobins best save probably came in the first period when Jiri Tlusty found a cutting Jamie McBain on a backdoor play during one of Carolinas five power plays. But the Bs goaltender pushed from post-to-post while squaring up for a shot that ultimately caught him in the chest.

That was a pretty good shot, said Khudobin. But making that save gives you confidence and gives your teammates confidence.

He snagged a long Eric Staal shot from the high point with a confident glove in the second period, and backstopped a Bruins penalty kill that went a perfect five-for-five on the evening. Claude Julien lauded the work of the young goaltender in only his second career appearance with the Bruins, which was all the more impressive after sitting and watching Tuukka Rask over the first nine days of the season.

Dobbie made some good saves, but we also had some very good penalty kill work, said Claude Julie. He was poised. I thought he did a great job. For me hes a guy that you watch in practice and you watch in the games, and hes two different guys. He was like that last year. Some guys are like that: game goaltenders rather than practice goaltenders.

He seemed focused and ready this morning. He was excited about playing, and they knew it was his first start so they were throwing everything at him. But he faced the shots and did a great job.

Most impressive of all: Khudobin is now 6-1 in eight career NHL appearances with a goals against average hovering around 1.25 and a .962 save percentage that scream out NHL-caliber goalie.

Its only been one game, but it looks like the Bruins are going to be in good hands for the 15-18 games the No. 1 goaltender of Kazakhstan will play for the Black and Gold in a season where backup goaltenders could play an extremely vital role.

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season. 

Monday, Oct. 24: Bergeron the best defensive forward ever?


Monday, Oct. 24: Bergeron the best defensive forward ever?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while giving The Walking Dead credit for delivering a pile driver to me as a TV viewer last night. I did not see all of that coming.

*Plenty of questions and answers about the Calgary Flames as they’ve looked a little shaky in the early going this season.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has the Edmonton Oilers straightening things out after the brutal loss to Buffalo.

*NHL captains like Steve Stamkos carry the heavy weight of tradition on their shoulders as they go about their business.

*The Hockey News wonders if Patrice Bergeron is the best defensive forward to ever play in the NHL. I’m certain he’s in the conversation, but that’s a big, bold statement that deserves some heavy consideration. After all, he never had to defend Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Mike Bossy, Gordie Howe or any other number of offensive stars. I certainly think he should be in the select club he would join if/when he wins his fourth Selke Trophy.

*Minnesota D-man Matt Dumba was nearly scratched by the Minnesota Wild, and he says that he’s never going to let that happen again.

*The Anaheim Ducks placed Simon Despres on long term injured reserve as they try to stay afloat salary cap-wise, and avoid dealing off a player in-season.

*For something completely different: The Boston Celtics break ground on a new practice facility adjacent to the new Bruins place.