It had been more than a year since Anton Khudobin played an NHL game, but in his first big-league outing since January 2011, he stood tall and stopped all but one shot as the Boston Bruins defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-1.
Khudobin, who likes it pronounced like “who-dough-bin” according to Jack Edwards, also goes by the nickname of Dobby. Bruins fans need to remember these nicknames, because with a good performance like this on his Boston resume, we might see a lot of him. Especially considering Tuukka Rask isn’t ready to return yet, Khudobin may be the backup Tim Thomas needs as they go on to the playoffs.
Khudobin’s first game as a Bruin was a baptism by fire. He faced 45 Senators shots total. Only one went in, a second-period goal by Jason Spezza that dashed the hopes of Khudobin’s first NHL game also being his first NHL shutout.
Sure, the team was missing Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Thomas and Johnny Boychuk. These absences were felt especially during the power play, which seemed even more lackluster than usual, but the team didn’t just give up and go home without trying.
The Bruins scored first on a goal from Benoit Pouliot that was the good result of him playing a little pass-back-and-forth with Brian Rolston in front of Ben Bishop. Jordan Caron pitched in too, taking a hit in order to pass the puck to Pouliot, who charged up ice with Rolston and did good things. Check out the video.
Greg Zanon stood out for two reasons: he scored and he blocked shots. His goal, extending the Bruins’ lead to 2-0 at the time, came from around the blue line–and he blocked a game-high ten shots, including one that briefly kept him off the bench, but he was back before long. Coach Claude Julien said that the shot-blocking was the mission here for number six.
“He played the game he normally plays, and that’s what I wanted to see tonight,” Julien said.
Torey Krug earned his very first NHL point when he assisted on Milan Lucic‘s goal along with David Krejci, who temporarily wore the A and set up Lucic with another wonderful little pass just like he did against the Penguins. Julien deemed Krug a “solid contributor.” Congratulations and here’s to many more points, Torey!
In what might be seen as pre-playoffs gamesmanship, an anonymous NHL coach (there are only 29 possibilities, folks) said that the Bruins are a team that is not blessed with offensive depth. If said coach is trying to get into the Bruins’ heads, I think that may not work very well, and I’ll just let the team’s production speak for itself. In this game, points came from all over the lineup.
With this win, the Bruins have 100 points this season. They could face Ottawa again pretty soon, and they’d go into that series having won five out of six of the regular-season meetings with the Sens. Their next opponent, the Buffalo Sabres, were eliminated from the playoffs by losing to the Philadelphia Flyers, so there’s no possibility of the Bruins being the team to keep them out of the postseason. Their April 7 meeting should still be an interesting one.