Talking Points: Khudobin the star of the show vs. Sabres


GOLD STAR: Anton Khudobin was the star of the show with 36 saves in his first shutout of the season, and really stood on his head in a game where the Bruins weren’t at their best in the second night of back-to-backs. Khudobin was phenomenal in the first period making 17 stops while the Bruins were getting their bearings, and just kept making stops even when he was giving up some semi-decent rebounds. When he did give up those rebounds, Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy were there to block shots that would have been sure goals when Khudobin was a bit out of the crease after making the initial save. After a couple of semi-shaky outings for Khudobin following his winning streak, this was a great sign to see the backup back to his red-hot self in relief of Tuukka Rask.

BLACK EYE: The line of Jason Pominville, Jack Eichel and Evander Kane had some decent offensive chances throughout the game, but they finished a minus-9 with all of the Bruins goals scored when they were on the ice. It was Pominville that got wheeled around by Jake DeBrusk on his way to the net before snapping a wrist shot over the shoulder of Robin Lehner. There were other Buffalo Sabres forwards, particularly Ryan O’Reilly with the way he dominated Patrice Bergeron in the face-off circle, that had decent games, but it’s going to be a tough night for the Sabres when their best players are taken to the woodshed like that. Pominville also wasn’t any offensive presence at all in the game with Eichel and Kane getting their chances in the 60 minutes of action.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins looked like they weren’t ready to go in the first period, giving up 17 shots on net in the opening 20 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back with travel to Buffalo. It was certainly to be expected given the heaviness of their schedule lately and with a Sabres opponent that might not naturally get the competitive juices going. But it was Anton Khudobin that stood on his head and stopped all 17 of the shots he faced in the first period, and truly kept the Bruins in the game until they could find their skating legs and get back into the swing of things. Once they had navigated the first half of the first period, the Bruins slowly began to control the game and really took over once Jake DeBrusk scored in the second period.  

HONORABLE MENTION: Jake DeBrusk only had one shot on net in the game, but he made it count when he carried the puck into the offensive zone with speed, blew past Jason Pominville near the blue line and then roofed a wrist shot that smashed one of Robin Lehner’s water bottles. It was the Bruins first goal of the game, and the only goal of the game for either side until Boston came away with a couple of empty-netters late in the proceedings. Otherwise, it was just a solid night for the youngster skating with Ryan Spooner and Anders Bjork, and all three really played the skating game well while putting it together for the second straight game. That’s two games in a row where DeBrusk has really been a bit of a difference-maker for the Bruins.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5-for-20 – the rare bad performance from Patrice Bergeron in the face-off circle while having a difficult time matching up against Ryan O’Reilly.

QUOTE TO NOTE:  “I think we’re doing a good job. We’re getting to that performance state and doing a good job night in and night out. Considering it was the second night of a back-to-back, it was a good effort all-around.” – Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller, who played a solid game and dropped the gloves for the B’s in the shutout win. 


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