Khudobin makes 41 saves, leads Bruins to crucial 3-2 win in Chicago

Khudobin makes 41 saves, leads Bruins to crucial 3-2 win in Chicago

CHICAGO -- Backup goalie Anton Khudobin made 41 saves and the Boston Bruins held off the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Sunday for their fifth straight victory.

Ryan Spooner, Patrice Bergeron and Kevan Miller scored for the Bruins, who jumped over idle Toronto and Ottawa into second place in the Atlantic Division. Boston began the day in wild-card position, four points ahead of Tampa Bay for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago's Artemi Panarin extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with his 29th. Jordin Tootoo also scored for the Blackhawks, who got 26 saves from Corey Crawford in their final regular-season home game.

The Blackhawks clinched first place in the Central Division and Western Conference on Saturday when Minnesota lost at Nashville. Chicago is assured of home-ice advantage through the first three playoff rounds.

Khudobin was sharp as the Bruins rested No. 1 goalie Tuukka Rask in their final regular-season road game.

Boston led 2-0 after the first period despite being outshot 16-11.

Spooner opened the scoring 6:34 in by deflecting Zdeno Chara's bouncing shot from the left point for his 12th goal.

The Blackhawks turned up the pressure later in the period, but Khudobin made a series of close-in saves - including dandies on Marian Hossa and Panarin - to keep Chicago off the board.

Bergeron fired in his 21st goal on a power play from beyond the top of the right circle to make it 2-0. He beat Crawford high to the stick side after taking a pass from Brad Marchand, who had stolen the puck at center ice.

Panarin cut it to 2-1 with 1:48 left in the second on the Blackhawks' 25th shot to cap a fluky play that withstood a video review.

Chicago's Brent Seabrook fired from the right point, but the drive went wide and bounded of the back boards. At the same time, Blackhawks forward Richard Panik slid into the net behind Khudobin, who had ranged out for Seabrook's shot.

Panarin fired the loose puck from just left of the net, but the shot struck Panik - who was curled up in the net - and bounced out. Panarin then popped in the rebound before Khudobin could recover, with Panik still in the net.

Panik was awarded an assist on the play.

Miller extended Boston's lead to 3-1 at 9:15 of the third on a nice move and quick shot from the left circle that sailed past Crawford's glove.

Tootoo trimmed it to 3-2 just 25 seconds later when he was left alone in the crease and slid John Hayden's centering pass between Khudobin's pads.

Khudobin was tested in the final 1:33 with Crawford on the bench for an extra attacker.

NOTES: Chicago C Artem Anisimov missed his 10th game (lower body), but coach Joel Quenneville said he expected the 22-goal scorer to resume skating on Monday . . . Spooner's goal was his first since March 4, a span that saw him miss three games with a concussion . . . Boston forward Frank Vatrano missed his third game with an upper-body injury and forward Jimmy Hayes sat out after sustaining a lower-body injury Saturday against Florida . . . Sean Kuraly was recalled from Providence of the AHL to take Hayes' spot . . . The Blackhawks have a chance to break their franchise record of 112 points, set in 2009-10 when they went on to win the first of three Stanley Cup titles in six seasons.


Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game homestand to close out the regular season.

Blackhawks: At the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night to start a three-game trip that wraps up the regular season. Chicago has 24 road wins, matching the team record.

Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

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Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

The Bruins have managed to take three of a possible six points since Zdeno Chara went down in the third period of last week's comeback win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and they've done it completely without their top pairing since Charlie McAvoy has also been out all this time.

There are a number of factors behind the ability to withstand the injuries, of course, and the entire defense corps was stellar at both ends in the shutout win over Tampa Bay last weekend.


But it's Torey Krug who's really stepped up his game. He had three assists and 15 shots on net in those three games, and was immense in the win over the Lightning.

Krug has surpassed the 50-point plateau for the second straight season, a major accomplishment for a defenseman who prides himself on his puck-moving and power-play work.

"You know, he has [stepped up]," coach Bruce Cassidy said of Krug, adding: "Torey is always going to get his numbers, but he's really added to it 5-on-5 . . . [It] was comforting to see that [without Chara and McAvoy] we shut out one of the best teams [in the NHL], at home, that was rested. You've got to take something out of that. It was one of 82 [games], but that was a real positive for our guys."

For Krug, the challenge of stepping up and being a leader in the team's time of need is the kind of thing he takes pride in responding to with an elevated level of play.

"I'm in the business of winning hockey games and helping my team win," said Krug. "It falls on my shoulders to produce some offense from the back end. And [when] we're missing a couple of guys from the back end that do that push the pace, then you've got to step up and make some plays. When you play with a lot of great players then you'll get your points, and you just need to worry about the defensive zone first.

"We're confident in everybody in this room. A lot of people think that the guys on our back end can't get the job done, so for us to step up [is a good thing]."


The biggest sign of Krug's increased responsibility? He topped 26 minutes of ice time in two of the three games since Chara was injured. Only once before, when he was on the ice for 27-plus minutes against the Rangers in early November, has he played more than that.

The loss of Chara and McAvoy has forced Krug to go above and beyond his normal range of duties and he's stepped up and embraced it. That's what good players on good teams do, and it's something Krug has consistently done in the big moments since arriving in Boston five years ago.


Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

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Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that team captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda lost their son one month before his due date.


"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son.

We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."

The couple announced via Instagram in November that they were expecting, and the CBC reports the baby was due in April.

Sens head coach Guy Boucher spoke about the tragedy after Ottawa's game vs the Panthers on Tuesday (1:36 mark in video below).

Karlsson, a rumored Bruins target before the trade deadline, received heartfelt condolences from the hockey world on Twitter:

Our thoughts too go out to Erik and Melinda during this incredibly difficult time.