Bruins roster cuts expected after Islanders game

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Bruins roster cuts expected after Islanders game

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
The Bruins will be giving fresh-faced youngsters like Jared Knight and Alex Khokhlachev a chance to don the Black and Gold in front of the home fans in tonights preseason home opener at TD Garden.

But the appearance in front of the celebratory fans comes at a price.

Bruins coach Claude Julien indicated that more camp roster cuts are likely coming following the Friday night contest against the New York Islanders, but it wasnt a reflection on the wealth of prospects within the organization.

A younger player or two skating tonight may be headed back from Boston if they cant perform at a high level against the young-and-improving Isles, but Julien made sure to credit the coaching staff thats armed him with so many talented, driven young players.

If a junior player earns it then theres no reason why it wouldnt happen, said Julien when posed the question about a younger player potentially cracking the roster for a handful of games before getting sent back to the junior leagues. But at the same time weve got a lot of prospects to look at here: Jamie Arniel, Jordan Caron, Max Sauve, Zach Hamill.

Weve got a lot of depth at the American Hockey League level that we can choose from too. But if a junior player is ready you can always find ways to make room, or give him an opportunity.

Julien also indicated that both David Krejci and Joe Corvo came through the last few days well while battling tight groin muscles, and were expected to play in their first preseason action against the Islanders. That leaves Nathan Horton as the only player that hasnt appeared in a preseason game for the Bruins after his postseason ended with a concussion against the Canucks.

The Bs are embarking on three games over the next four days and will be looking to pare down the roster prior to hitting Halifax for two games in two nights against the Montreal Canadiens. The second game will be held at the Bell Centre on Monday night, and Julien said he was inclined to keep former Habs winger Benoit Pouliot out of the game within the belly of the Habs beast.

We havent made the roster yet, but those are the things that we do take into consideration, said Julien. We know those guys that have come from those teams. If you want my honest opinion Id be more inclined to play him in Halifax rather than Montreal. I dont think he needs that right now. Just dont shoot me if thats not what happens.

Its likely that Zdeno Chara will go the same path over the next few days in order to avoid the Max Paciorettystanchion circus thats been following him around since last years late season hockey play that left Pacioretty with fractured vertebrae and a severe concussion.

It certainly wouldnt be a preseason with the Bruins if there wasnt some intrigue and drama involving the Habs at some point before the regular season bullets start flying.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Win vs. Islanders 'a nice building block' for Bruins

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Win vs. Islanders 'a nice building block' for Bruins

BROOKLYN, NY – It wasn’t particularly entertaining and it won’t be all that memorable down the ride aside from the timing and importance of the meeting between the Bruins and Islanders. But it was a solid 2-1 team win for the Bruins over the Islanders at the Barclays Center on Saturday night with the B’s grinding all the way down to the end while protecting a one-goal lead through much of the third period.

Nearly everybody across Boston’s roster contributed in the major victory over the team trying to bypass them in the wild card standings, and it was a beautiful thing. Anton Khudobin stepped up when Tuukka Rask couldn’t start Saturday night’s showdown with a lower body issue, and Riley Nash supplied both Boston goals from a fourth line that’s played some of their best hockey lately.

It was unlikely heroes all around for the Black and Gold in the tightly-wound contest, but that diversity of talent and production can be a very good thing for a team looking to make that playoff push.

“You have to stay with it. You have to stay in the moment and stay with the game no matter what’s happening during the game. That’s how you get results, and that’s how you find ways to persevere through adversity,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We just got back to playing stingy, especially in the neutral zone. We got away from it the last few games, and it was nice tonight to be back playing a low-scoring game like what we’re used to playing.”

When it was all said and done the Bruins only allowed 19 shots on net and also killed off six penalties in the kind of grinding defensive showdown that you haven’t seen all that much out of the Black and Gold lately. It was exactly what Cassidy was looking for to snap the four-game losing streak, and once again start pushing the Bruins upward into the playoff chase.

“That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is battling hard and fighting that hard to see pucks and find pucks and your D are blocking shots. And you kill that many penalties. It was a nice building block for us,” said Cassidy. “From the goalie on out, everybody was in there [in the win]. It was a tough game. It was a nice Bruins win. We had been doing it with offense earlier, and we’ve got to be able to do it both ways. You need to be able to win 2-1 hockey games, and it had been awhile.”

Now it’s simply up to the Bruins to be feeling good about their latest win while going back to basics, and looking for more next time around after ending their worst losing streak of the season.

Anton Khudobin battles for a huge win filling in for Tuukka Rask

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Anton Khudobin battles for a huge win filling in for Tuukka Rask

BROOKLYN, NY – Things didn’t go so well last season for the Bruins when Tuukka Rask suddenly wasn’t well enough to play in the last game of the season, so there was good reason for the B’s to be a little nervous when their No. 1 goalie again couldn’t answer the bell Saturday night vs. the Islanders.

Anton Khudobin had won four games in a row headed into Saturday night, of course, and in his previous start he’d helped snap a 10-game winning streak for the Calgary Flames. So perhaps it wasn’t all that surprising when Khudobin stood tall for the Bruins making 18 saves in a tight, nervy 2-1 win over the Isles at the Barclays Center.

“You don’t have that many shots, but maybe 10 scoring chances…that can be tougher than seeing 30 shots and same amount of scoring chances,” said Khudobin. “But I’m glad got the job done, we got our points and we got the ‘W’.”

It wasn’t wall-to-wall action in a game where both teams combined for 37 shots on net, but it was still impressive that Khudobin and the B’s special teams killed off six Islander power plays in such a tight hockey game. After the B’s backup netminder was lauded for the way he battled in the crease and competed for pucks like his team’s very life was on the line in a pivotal game.

“That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is battling hard, and fighting that hard to see pucks and your D are blocking shots. And you kill that many penalties. It was a nice building block for us,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I loved his performance. He’s a battler. He got swimming a couple of times, but that’s Dobby. He keeps it interesting for you. He’s a battler and he always has been. That’s what we needed tonight.”

One could spend days analyzing Cassidy's words and wondering much of that was deserved, appreciative praise for Khudobin, and how much of that might have been a veiled message to Boston's No. 1 goaltender sitting back home in Boston. 

The best save of the night probably won’t even count as a save for the Russian netminder. It was John Tavares, after having beaten Khudobin once in the first period, moving into the offensive zone with speed during a third period power play, and getting an open look at the net front in the high slot. Khudobin thought quickly and dropped into the unconventional double-stack pad save that seemed to throw Tavares off just a little, and the Isles sniper smoked the shot off the crossbar rather than tying up the game.

“I didn’t touch it. I didn’t really have time to get there, so the only thing I tried to do was the two-pad stack, old school Bob Essensa-style,” said Khudobin, who has now improved to 6-5-1 with a 2.60 goals against and an .899 save percentage this season. “Then he hit the crossbar. You need to get some luck in this league, and if you don’t get luck you’re going to lose games.”

A little luck and a little good, old-fashioned battling between the pipes was enough for Khudobin and the Bruins in Saturday night’s mammoth win. Now the questions become whether or not to go right back to Khudobin again on Tuesday at home against the Nashville Predators.