Bruins

Bruins still at odds with another Stanley Cup title

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Bruins still at odds with another Stanley Cup title

The Bruins didnt change the composition of their roster much aside from the bizarre departure of goalie Tim Thomas, and their chances of winning the Stanley Cup havent changed all that much according to the odds-makers in Las Vegas.

Per the good people at Bovada (www.Bovada.lv) the Pittsburgh Penguins hold the best 8-to-1 odds of winning the Stanley Cup next season despite no major upgrades on their roster aside from the expected good health of Sidney Crosby. The New York Rangers are just behind with 9-to-1 odds after trading a few non-essential players and parts in exchange for Rick Nash after falling in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

The Philadelphia Flyers are 14-to-1 as the next East team most likely to win the Stanley Cup, and the Boston Bruins still sit as the fourth-most favorite team in the East with 16-to-1 odds to capture their second Stanley Cup in the last three years.

The Bs and Flyers both sat with 14-to-1 odds of winning the Cup at the beginning of June, and the Tim Thomas exodus is the most logical reason for Bostons odds of winning it all dropping ever so slightly. Its interesting to note how little change theres been among the Eastern teams from June to August as most of the best available free agentstrade pieces have moved to Western Conference teams aside from Nash moving to Madison Square Garden.

Also of interest on the other end of things the Columbus Blue Jackets have gone from 75-to-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup to an NHL-worst 100-to-1 odds after dealing away their franchise player in Nash.

Here are the odds team-by-team with no adjustments made for a potential work stoppage thats creeping up on the league if theres not a CBA in place by the Sept. 15 deadline:

Pittsburgh Penguins 81

New York Rangers 91

Vancouver Canucks 111

Los Angeles Kings 121

Philadelphia Flyers 131

Chicago Blackhawks 141

Detroit Red Wings 151

Boston Bruins 161

St. Louis Blues 161

Minnesota Wild 181

San Jose Sharks 201

Buffalo Sabres 221

Carolina Hurricanes 221

Nashville Predators 251

Tampa Bay Lightning 251

Washington Capitals 251

New Jersey Devils 281

Edmonton Oilers 301

Toronto Maple Leafs 351

Florida Panthers 401

Anaheim Ducks 401

Colorado Avalanche 401

Montreal Canadiens 401

Ottawa Senators 401

Phoenix Coyotes 401

Calgary Flames 501

Dallas Stars 501

Winnipeg Jets 501

New York Islanders 751

Columbus Blue Jackets 1001

Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

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Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the new Brown Sugar Cinnamon coffee flavor at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not Cookie Dough, but what is after all?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer James O’Brien has the details on Radko Gudas getting ejected for an ugly, reckless and dangerous slash to Mathieu Perreault’s head last night. Gudas should be facing a long suspension for a play that has no place in the NHL. It’s time for Flyers fans to stop making excuses for a player who’s no better than a cheap-shot artist and hatchet man. He has to face the music for consistently trying to hurt his fellow players.  

*Frank Seravalli has some of the details for a historic GM meeting in Montreal where NHL hockey was born in the first place.

*You always need to link to a service dog being part of the pregame face-off ceremonies. That’s like a rule here at the morning skate?

*Cam Atkinson and the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to a seven-year contract extension, according to reports from the Athletic.

*It’s been quite an eventful year for Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet and some of it has been to the extreme both good and bad just a month into his first year as bench boss.

*For something completely different: Chris Mannix is all-in on the Celtics being the front-runners in the Eastern Conference after their big win over the Golden State Warriors.

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

These are desperate times for the Bruins even after pulling out a solid, blue-collar 2-1 win over a sputtering Los Angeles Kings team on Thursday night.

The victory ended a four-game losing streak and gave the Bruins just their second road win of the season in eight tries. It was also the fourth win of the season for backup netminder Anton Khudobin, who is a sterling 4-0-2 and has given them everything they could possibly hope for out of the backup spot. The Bruins have a grand total of 18 points on the season and Khudobin miraculously has more than half of those (10 to be exact).

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It’s clearly a far cry from last season for Khudobin, of course, when it took until February for the goalie’s season to get in gear.

But Thursday night’s 27-save effort from Khudobin was also a stunning contrast to what Tuukka Rask has been able to produce this season. Khudobin has a .928 save percentage and 2.35 goals-against average. Rask has a dreadful .897 save percentage while giving them average play between the pipes at best.  

Khudobin is tied for seventh in the NHL with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky in save percentage and Rask is chilling in the NHL goalie statistical basement with retreads Steve Mason and James Reimer.

Quite simply, Khudobin has been way better than Rask and the Bruins have, for whatever reason, played better hockey in front of their backup goalie. Some of it might also be about Khudobin’s more adaptable game behind a Boston defense that can make things unpredictable for their goaltender, but Rask is being paid $7 million a season to be better and figure it out. It would be amazing if this trend continued for the entire season and it would certainly merit more examination from management as to why the rest of the Bruins and Rask can’t seem to combine for an effective, winning product on the ice.

For now, the Bruins need to simply win by whatever means necessary and that amounts to riding Khudobin’s hot streak for as long as it lasts. It should begin with the backup goalie getting a second consecutive start against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night and seeing where it goes from there. Perhaps the extra rest gets Rask additional time to get his game together, or serves as the kind of motivation to get the Finnish netminder into a mode where he can steal games for an undermanned, out-gunned team that needs that right now.

“We’re going to look at it,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked postgame by reporters in L.A. about his goalie for Saturday night. “He played very well against San Jose last time. They’re a heavy team. He seems to do well in these kinds of games with a lot of traffic around the net. But we’ll look at that decision [Friday].”

Khudobin has stopped 57 of 61 shots in his two games in November, so perhaps that level of hot goaltending could also allow the Bruins to survive a month that otherwise might absolutely bury their playoff hopes. Maybe Khudobin finally loses on Saturday night and the goaltending conversation, not controversy, ends as quickly as his point streak. For now, riding the hot goalie is the right call for a team that needs something good to hang onto.

The Bruins are in desperation mode until they get a number of their injured players back. There certainly might not be more of a desperate option than setting their beleaguered sights on a goalie they sent to the minors as recently as last season. But it’s a new season, Khudobin has been excellent and he’s earned a chance to carry this team for a little bit until they can get things back in order.

Calling Khudobin’s number is the right call right now for the Bruins and, quite frankly, shouldn’t be that difficult a choice given what we’ve seen so far this season. 

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