Bruins

Haggerty's thoughts from Bruins-Sabres

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Haggerty's thoughts from Bruins-Sabres

BUFFALO Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Buffalo Sabres locked in a scoreless 0-0 tie after the first 20 minutes of action at the First Niagara Center.

1) Claude Julien playing a cat-and-mouse game with the Buffalo Sabres while making it appear that Brad Marchand wouldnt play on Sunday night, and then plugging him into the lineup at the last minute. Marchand end up skating on the left wing along with Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton while Jamie Tardif was a scratch after it appeared hed be on the third line with Chris Kelly and Chris Bourque. Instead Rich Peverley ended back with his normal linemates.

2) Good bout between Gregory Campbell and Patrick Kaleta in the middle of the first period with Campbell going after the Buffalo scrapper when he lined up Dennis Seidenberg for a hit. Campbell threw a couple of shots, and then absorbed more than a few once Kaleta got swinging. Campbell lost the bout and ended up getting slapped with a two-minute minor and 10-minute misconduct for instigating along with the five-minute fighting major.

3) Good goaltending from both Ryan Miller and Anton Khudobin. Miller made a great stop on Zdeno Chara early in the game and then stood tall for a series of shots when the Patrice Bergeron line pinned the fourth line in the defensive end. Miller stopped a couple of blasts and tips from Bergeron, but lucked out when Nathan Horton fanned on a sweet backhanded pass to the slot from Bergeron. Five shots attempted for the Bergeron line with both of Hortons attempts having been blocked by the Sabres. Sixteen shots total for Boston in the first period, which is among their highest one-period totals of the season.

4) Kaleta has three hits in the first period despite missing five minutes with the fight and is doing his agitating best while Cody McCormick has three shots on net for Buffalo. Their pests are doing their job tonight while Steve Ott hasnt really got his act going yet with six minutes of ice time in the first period.

5) Two shots on net for Daniel Paille in the first period as he looks like hes jumping right back in after missing more than a week. Shawn Thornton and John Scott found themselves wrapped up in a scrum near the Boston net, but I wouldnt expect anything out of those two combatants unless something goes crazy tonight in the next two periods.

Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

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Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

The entire concept of Tuukka Rask getting pushed by one of his backups is based on the backup consistently performing at a high standard, and that wasn’t the case for Anton Khudobin over the weekend.

Just as it isn’t solely the fault of Rask when the Bruins lose, it wasn’t solely the fault of Khudobin that Boston squandered leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in an overtime loss to Buffalo on Saturday night. But Khudobin couldn’t step up and carry the B's when they clearly started losing their edge in the second half of the game, and that inconsistency will certainly make the Bruins pine for a sooner-rather-than-later return of a concussed Rask.

“Erratic,” said coach Bruce Cassidy when asked to describe Khudobin postgame. “He battles. We love that about him. He battled to the end. He certainly made his share of saves. We need to be better in front of him. But there were times that, there were fires that needed to be put out that shouldn’t have been necessary. But that happens sometimes.”

It was certainly too much to expect Khudobin to be perfect, but they just needed him to be good enough to pull them through while they were getting waylaid in the second half of the game. That proved to be a major challenge, given the players the Bruins are missing and the extremely rough night suffered by Torey Krug (minus-3 on Saturday night, and minus-8 for the season). Khudobin finished with 37 stops as a defense corps without Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller wilted in the third period and the overtime, but he couldn’t make the clean saves for whistles when the team really needed them. Case in point was a Rasmus Ristolainen tester in overtime while the Bruins were in the midst of being outshot by a 6-0 margin in the extra session. Khudobin got a glove on it but couldn’t cleanly catch it for a badly needed stoppage in play at a time when Krug, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand had been caught on the ice for over two minutes.

"The start was great, and the game was great until we scored the fourth goal, and I think after that, we thought it was an easy game,” said Khudobin. “[The high volume of shots] wasn’t that much difficult, I like shots, like probably every other goalie, but they were crashing the net. They were going hard. There were a lot of deflections, a lot of rebounds, a lot of scrums in front of the net, which were . . .that’s the dangerous part, not just the shots.”

Khudobin, 31, has taken five of a possible six points in the games he's played this season and is off to a solid start with a 2-0-1 record, a 2.98 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He looks like he’s going to be a perfectly fine backup, enabling the Bruins to hold Rask to the 55-60 games they’ve forecasted for his peak performance this season.

But Saturday night was a major blow to any hopes that Rask would be pushed competitively by his backup, and that a Khudobin hot streak could spark a slow-starting, and now injured, Rask when he does return.

Instead the Bruins are left to hope they can survive while missing Rask along with a number of other key players, and that the goalie returns sooner than later to a team that can’t survive too many morale-crushing defeats like the choke job against the lowly Sabres.

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Morning Skate: 'After Hours'? Injured Jagr is open

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Morning Skate: 'After Hours'? Injured Jagr is open

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering if it shouldn’t be more of an issue that potential Red Sox manager Alex Cora was good buddies with Dustin Pedroia when the two played together in Boston.

*Jaromir Jagr suffers a lower-body injury and then goes on Hockey Night in Canada’s “After Hours” program to show once again how wonderful it is to be “The Jagr.”

*The Ottawa Senators get Erik Karlsson back this week, but now they’ve lost power forward Bobby Ryan for a month with a broken finger.

*The Montreal Canadiens are getting exposed for the very flawed team that they are during a brutal start to the 2017-18 season.

*Keep an eye out on the Los Angeles Kings now that they’ve suffered an injury with Jeff Carter and do appear to be in the running for the playoffs this season.

*New Jersey Devils fans help a singer belt out the national anthem after there might have been a case of forgetting the words.

*Doug Gilmour might not have always enjoyed the prying eyes while playing in Toronto, a case that gives you an idea what it’s like to be a pro hockey player in a market like Toronto where everybody knows your name.

*For something completely different: There’s no doubting that Aaron Judge has brought life and energy back to the Yankees and that’s something that’s very good for baseball.