BruinsIslanders: 5 from the Second

BruinsIslanders: 5 from the Second

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comBOSTON Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Islanders by a 3-2 score after the first 40 minutes of play at TD Garden.1)Shawn Thornton must have done somebody wrong on the Islanders bench because he was hit with a pair of high sticks from Trevor Gillies and Kyle Okposo during the second period. Thornton has played well with three shots on net and a goal in 8:32 of ice time, but hes also still nursing a healing wound on his forehead after taking 40 stitches there last week. It didnt appear that the sticks ripped anything open, but thats the big danger until it heals completely for the Bs enforcer.2)This just in: Michael Grabner is fast and good. Not sure what Dale Tallon was smoking down in Florida when he decided to try and sneak the speedy youngster through waivers, but hes potted two goals tonight and 33 goals in his rookie NHL season. Grabners speed is game-changing as anybody could have seen when he sped past Tomas Kaberle like he was standing still for a short-handed goal in the second period. A game-high six shots for Grabner tonight.3)It appears that David Krejci and Milan Lucic are in operation shutdown until the playoffs begin. Krejci has the only shot between the two players, and theyre sitting at a minus-2 with over 20 minutes of ice time tonight. Lucic hasnt scored since potting his 30th goal of the season eight games ago, and they look like theyre simply trying to stay away from injury for the playoffs.4)Two shots on goal in two power play chances for the Bruins tonight including a 5-on-3 that started the game. The PP looks just as impotent as it did before Tomas Kaberle arrived. No snap, no pop and no willingness to work in front of the net.5)The people that are working are the Bs players potentially on the bubble for a playoff roster spot. With Tyler Seguin sitting out, Thornton has a goal, Paille has an assist and a plus-2 and Michael Ryder did yeomans work putting up a screen in front of the net n Dennis Seidenbergs goal in the second period.

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

bruins_anton_khudobin_032517.jpg

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.