Anton Khudobin 'gaining confidence' as he wins again for Bruins

Anton Khudobin 'gaining confidence' as he wins again for Bruins

BOSTON – Anton Khudobin didn’t know whether or not the Bruins were going to pick up another veteran goalie ahead of the trade deadline, but he hoped they wouldn't because he’s rebuilt some of their confidence in him. The Russian goaltender won his third straight game while stopping 15-of-17 shots in a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden on Saturday night, and has his confidence meter sitting at an all-time high this season. 

“If they believe in me and they didn’t bring anybody, I really appreciate it,” said Khudobin, who improved to 4-5-1 on the season after Saturday night’s win. “I want to do my job and I want to win for the team. If they did that, I really appreciate it and believe it’s always most important. If they believe in you as a player, it gives you confidence, and that’s it.

“It’s always a good feeling to win the games. I’m always saying that and my answer is not going to change, probably. Of course, and after a rough start, especially my start, and winning right now, it just gives you more confidence, it gives your team more confidence, and gives everybody confidence which is important at this time of the year.”

Khudobin wasn’t consistently under siege, obviously, as the Bruins outshot the Devils by a 40-17 margin, but he was good enough to win. That’s the name of the game for the backup goalie that simply needs to stop enough rubber to let his team win while also giving Tuukka Rask the entire night off as he did on Saturday night. 

“His game was good. I’m sure he’d rather have the game that he had than the one that [Cory] Schneider had because we tested him quite a bit. So at the end of the day, they were high-end chances that they scored on,” said Cassidy. “So you know, that’s fantastic clean up on some of those opportunities but for the most part we kept it clean in front of him. 

“He did his job, you know, he hung in there, he made saves when he had to and he got the win for it, so I’m sure he’s happy. It was a tough first half of the year for him, and he’s kind of found his game here a little bit and we’ve talked about it – it’s well documented. We need him, we need him to be good and give us a chance to win.”

That’s exactly what Khudobin did in winning on Saturday night, and it’s no coincidence that the Bruins are on their best winning stretch of the season while their B’s backup goalie is regularly picking up W’s for the first time this season. 

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

It might have caused a ripple when Ryan Donato wasn’t on the ice on Tuesday afternoon in St. Louis for Bruins practice on the day after his brilliant, three-point NHL debut for the Black and Gold. But the 21-year-old Donato was still back in the Boston area fulfilling some class requirements at Harvard University to help him close out the current semester properly, and not lose the credits that will keep him in line with fulfilling his junior year at Harvard University.

Believe it or not, the schoolwork is important to the newest member of the Boston Bruins and he intends to study and hit the books on his road trips, and also intends to take classes in the summertime to still graduate on time next season.

“I’m planning on finishing the semester academically. I want to finish the semester academically,” said Donato, after Monday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena prior to last night’s debut vs. Columbus. “Obviously it’s going to be something that’s difficult, but for me it was a dream to graduate from Harvard. I’m putting that off a little bit, but I need to be able to finish this semester in order to have that opportunity, and not put it off for another couple of years. I want to finish out the semester.”

Donato is also still living in the Harvard dorms while “moonlighting” as an NHL hockey player for the rest of the season, but that isn’t all so uncommon among some of the college players that leave school early. Charlie McAvoy was similarly living in the Boston University dorms last spring through Boston’s playoff run, and didn’t clear out of his college living situation until after the Black and Gold had been eliminated by the Ottawa Senators last April.

Missing practices on an NHL schedule is certainly a new one with, Donato, however, and takes the student-athlete concept to a whole new level for somebody that's already turned pro. One has to expect this was one of the things being discussed in full when the Donato family, Ryan's agent and the Bruins discussed his contract terms over the weekend before coming to an agreement.

Along with Donato, who is scheduled to fly into St. Louis and play against the Blues on Wednesday night, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, Rick Nash and Torey Krug were all missing from the ice at Tuesday’s team practice ahead of a four game road trip against Western Conference opponents.


Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

File photo

Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while not really digging these forecasts of more snow.

*You know, if he weren’t making millions and millions of dollars I might actually feel bad for ol' Claude Julien up in Montreal busting out the “We’re not a very good team” soliloquy with the Habs. That team flat out stinks this season and these past few weeks it can’t be fun at all being the head coach of that dumpster fire.

*Darren Dreger says there is no rush for the Toronto Maple Leafs to bring back Auston Matthews before he’s ready to go, and that’s absolutely the case so close to the playoffs.

*Here are five Hart Trophy-caliber players that won’t get a sniff of the voting, but deserve some attention nonetheless. There are no Bruins players on the list if you’re wondering, but some pretty good ones in Johnny Gaudreau and Aleksander Barkov.

*The NHL general managers are weighing potential changes to the goalie-interference interpretation ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

*While it still looks a Swedish defenseman is going to be the No. 1 overall pick this June, there are some other players rocketing up the list.

*For something completely different: The definitive ranking of Girl Scout cookies from best-to-worst that we’ve all been waiting for.

*Song of the Week: Haven’t done one of these in a long, long time, but I like this Calvin Harris/Katy Perry/Pharrell Williams tune that I hadn’t heard until the past couple of days.