Game Story: Bruins fall to Senators, 2-1

191545.jpg

Game Story: Bruins fall to Senators, 2-1

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON -- Last night's home exhibition finale between the Bruins and Senators wont win any Hockey action is Fantastic awards, and the B's couldnt send the crowd home happy, either.

The B's dominated the Ottawa Senators in their final home tune-up before the regular season, but somehow turned a 40-shot attack into a 2-1 loss to Ottawa at the TD Garden.

David Rundblad scored the game-winner when he fired a puck from the left point that nicked off Adam McQuaids stick and got by Tim Thomas. Craig Anderson made 39 stops for the Senators in a big goaltending show that Ottawa will need on most nights this season.

The Bruins were on the board first with another power-play goal, as their improvement with the man advantage continues during this preseason. This time it was Milan Lucic with his first career preseason power-play goal, firing home a shot after receiving a slick Nathan Horton pass from behind the net after a couple of Zdeno Chara bombs from the point had softened things up.

The Bruins dominated the time of possession and shot chart, but the Senators ended up tying things in the third period after a pair of Anderson saves at one end turned into transitional offense. Colin Greening carried the puck up, and managed to get Daniel Alfredsson open for a score to the glove side of Thomas.

The real downer on this night, however, was a leg injury to Steve Kampfer in the third period. An awkward collision with Jared Cowan turned Kampfer into a split on the ice, and the young Bs defensemen went down in a heap immediately afterward.

GOLD STAR: Craig Anderson made 39 stops for the Ottawa Senators, and set up both of Ottawas goals by making acrobatic saves at his end of the ice in a game dominated by the Bruins. The stops on Rich Peverley and Patrice Bergeron in the third period preceded an Alfredsson scoring rush on Thomas, and he did the same thing later in the period when he stuffed Daniel Paille on a breakaway. The Sens have put a lot of faith in Anderson, and hope that he can carry them through a difficult Northeast Division schedule this season.

HONORABLE MENTION: Milab Lucic potted his first career preseason goal on the power play and did a nice job camping his big body in front of the net. Thats the exact kind of role big No. 17 will be expected to play during the year, and it looks like the Nathan HortonLucic chemistry is in midseason form at this point.

BLACK EYE: Steve Kampfer suffered a knee injury in the third period after a collision with Jared Cowen and is scheduled for a Friday MRI to survey the damage. Its a shame for Kampfer, who'd really turned his preseason around in the last three games and put on a serious bid for the seventh defensemen spot with the Bruins. It now appears Matt Bartkowski will win that spot unless Kampfer can dodge an injury bullet on a knee hit that looked pretty serious.

TURNING POINT: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Rich Peverley came out flying in the opening minutes of the third period, and nearly scored on a perfect Marchand-to-Peverley pass for an open bid in front. Anderson stuffed the Peverley shot with a left pad save, smothered a Bergeron rebound attempt and then kick-started a transition into the offensive zone that ended up in an Ottawa goal. That tipped the scales in a game Boston had previously dominated.

BY THE NUMBERS: 20 the number of shots faced by Tim Thomas in a game that didnt feature a lot of action in the Boston end. Thomas will play Saturday against the Islanders to get a final tune-up before the season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: Id ask them if they want to grab a beer. Thats about it. Andrew Ference when asked what hed say to any bummed out Red Sox players he bumps into in Boston over the next few weeks.

For Haggerty's 15 thoughts on the game, click here.

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

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.