Bruins win another in the third period

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Bruins win another in the third period

Once again the Bruins separated from their opponent in the final 20 minutes of regulation in Bostons 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden. It's become something of a calling card.

The Bruins have outscored other NHL teams by a 48-22 margin in the third periods of NHL games this season and that isnt just an accident.

Its also because the Bruins dont hold the third period up as an be-all end-all for winning or losing games either. They just simply look at it as an opportunity to continue attacking with the same consistent flow from the beginning to the ends of games. It's an approach that is the residue of winning a championship.

It also helps if youve done some researching into King Arthurs Court, as Tim Thomas seems to have done.

Its probably because were trying to play every period the same and were not putting an over-emphasis on any period, said Tim Thomas, who made 16 saves in a final 20 minutes that saw him in full brick wall mode. We have confidence that we have stronger as the game goes on.

Stronger 'til dawn like Sir Lancelot. I dont know if you guys know what that means. Back in medieval times the duels would go all night because they had the heavy armor and they could hardly move, and the legend is that Lancelot would just keep getting strong the longer they went on. So thats what I mean by that.

Much of it is predicated on the depth of their lines and their overall physical style that wears down opponents, but theres also the simple mechanics of a team that knows the best time to break their opponents.

When we play our game we just try to be consistent and I think the consistency eventually pays off. Its usually in the third period, said Andrew Ference. Good things happen if we get a good fore-check going and we get some extended shifts in their zone. It tires teams out, and I think that there are mistakes that are made when youre tired.

When were playing really good hockey, I think that helps us out. I think teams just, especially their defensemen . . . when our forwards do a good job and our fore-check can be really effective, guys get worn out.

Wave after wave of attackers come for the Bruins as Claude Julien rolls four lines. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron finally busted through with Marchands dangling one-on-one move following an elite Tyler Seguins saucer pass. That play was made possible by a softened Montreal defensemen corps that had made some mistakes through the game like P.K. Subbans soft play that turned into a goal off David Krejcis skate in the second period but was really ripe for the kill in the final 20 minutes.

Travis Moen gave away the puck to Bergeron by the Habs blue line, and Marchands score arrived just seconds later.

Theres a reason the Bs are a gaudy 17-0-0 when taking a lead into the third period: Killer instinct and good goaltending.

The team often talks about playing a full 60 minutes, but maybe they should just simply embrace the slogan stronger 'til dawn because thats exactly what they are.

Khudobin happy to step in for Rask in an 'important game'

Khudobin happy to step in for Rask in an 'important game'

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Bruins' original plan was for Anton Khudobin to get one out of the four big games with playoff implications this week, so the fact he’s starting Saturday night vs. the Islanders in a do-or-die game is in keeping with that plan. 

But the 30-year-old Khudobin couldn’t have been planning on making the start vs. the Isles after the Bruins lost the first three games this week vs. Toronto, Ottawa and Tampa Bay, and have lost four in a row in regulation overall.

All of that changed on Friday when Tuukka Rask determined he couldn’t play due to a lower body issue. That leaves the Bruins backup goaltender preparing to start in the biggest game of the regular season. 

Coach Bruce Cassidy said there would still have been a discussion about going with Khudobin tonight based on the way things had gone for Rask over the past four games, but it would have been bold going with the backup over a theoretically healthy No. 1 goalie.

“It would have been a conversation to have with [Rask] based on his physical well-being. He’s not used to the workload, but at this time of year that’s just what happens sometimes,” said Cassidy of Rask, who had started three games in four days before tonight’s DNP. “It would have been a conversation. We were considering Anton for a game this week, and it just so happens that it worked out to be [against the Islanders].”

It’s a good thing that Khudobin has won his past four games  and is playing his best hockey of the season. He said he's determined to be at his best despite his last start coming 10 days ago in Calgary.

“We don’t know what’s going on there [with Tuukka], so I’m just taking it day-by-day,” said Khudobin, who has a solid .916 save percentage in his past five appearances for the Black and Gold. “I’m not thinking too far ahead. It’s always great to play. It’s a really important game, and it’s the time of year where every point is really important.

“I’ve played pretty good and the guys have played really well in front of me. We’ve gotten the wins, so that’s the most important thing. When you get the wins, of course, it always feels really good.”

The Bruins showed a lot of faith in Khudobin signing him to a two-year deal on July 1 to be Rask’s backup. For most of this season he struggled badly in that role while going back and forth to Providence. Still, all of that will be forgotten if Khudobin can battle and compete his way to winning against the Islanders and help stabilize a Bruins team that looks headed for another late-season fall amid a four-game losing streak. 

Saturday, March 25: Does NHL have star double-standard?

Saturday, March 25: Does NHL have star double-standard?

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while getting no sleep till Brooklyn.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Harrington with a good piece on the star treatment double-standard when the NHL’s best players misbehave on the ice.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker asks what is wrong with the San Jose Sharks as the playoffs beckon.  

*Claude Julien hasn’t had the impact that the Montreal Canadiens were hoping for, says the Hockey News.

*Hockey Canada is contemplating sending a “B team” to replace the NHL star players at the 2018 Olympic Games.

*Jarome Iginla is undecided on whether or not he’s going to retire after 20 Hall of Fame level seasons in the NHL.

*Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock has his eyes on the playoffs as the Leafs have carved out a temporary placement for themselves.

*With the Minnesota Wild in a bit of a limbo, Bruce Boudreau is urging his players to learn from their mistakes and ready to finish up strong.

*For something completely different: I hope this Justice League movie is good, but I have zero faith in Zak Snyder.