'Another strong game' for Khudobin in return from injury


'Another strong game' for Khudobin in return from injury

TORONTO – The Bruins fell in overtime after failing to hold a tight one-goal lead at the end of the third period, but it was no reflection on the goaltender.

Anton Khudobin hadn’t played in more than two weeks because of a lower-body injury, but came back with minimal rust and stopped 30-of-33 shots in the 3-2 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs. The overtime loss puts Khudobin at 3-0-2 in five starts on the season, and the Bruins veteran backup hasn’t yet lost in regulation after not securing his second win of last season until February.

While that’s something to be proud of given how important a backup goalie’s effectiveness is to the overall success of a hockey team, Khudobin can’t help but be disappointed when the Bruins are on the losing end of one of his appearances.


“It’s tough to say because it was a tough loss, but at least we got the point,” said Khudobin. “Overall I thought we played pretty well. We did a lot of good things. Maybe we didn’t score enough or maybe I didn’t stop enough [pucks]…I don’t know. But overall I thought we played pretty well; we just didn’t get rewarded.

“There is always something we can fix in this game, so we’re going to continue to work. But we’re moving forward.”

All three Toronto goals on Friday night were from Leafs players that were essentially uncovered in front of the net: A James van Riemsdyk power play goal in the second period, a JVR redirect in the last minute of the third period with Toronto employing an extra attacker for the pulled goalie and an odd-man rush in 3-on-3 overtime after Mitch Marner had stripped David Pastrnak of the puck at the offensive blue line.   

Khudobin made some excellent saves throughout the nip-and-tuck game including a first period stop on Nazem Kadri in the first period, and a third period save on Dominic Moore trying to rush the net prior to the eventual tying goal.

“It was another strong game,” said Bruce Cassidy of Khudobin, who is actually tied for 19th in the NHL with his .923 save percentage on the season. “Listen, the guy has been really good for us. He seems like he’s tightening up his game as we’ve gone along too. It seemed like he had some rebound issues early [in the season], but he’s really tightened those up.

“He has better control. Give him credit against a good offensive team, and [his teammates] played fairly well in front of him. Give him a lot of credit.”

Khudobin will get as much credit as one can get in a game where his hockey team coughed up a one-goal lead late in the game, but the hope now is that Tuukka Rask can pick up the slack on Saturday vs. the Leafs in the second half of the home-and-home series. 


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.