B's shut out for fourth time in 10 games, 2-0


B's shut out for fourth time in 10 games, 2-0

ST. PAUL, MN The Bruins are officially in a rut that they cant find the escape hatch for.

The Bruins dropped their second game in a row and their third in the last four contests with a sleepy 2-0 defeat at the hands of a desperate Minnesota Wild team at the Xcel Energy Center. Its the fourth time that the Bruins have been shut out in the 10 games since Nathan Horton went down with a mild concussion, and serves as a reminder that the Bs are struggling in just about every imaginable area.

After a competent, scoreless first period things started breaking down for the Black and Gold in the second period. The Wild were able to move the puck through the neutral zone with speed, and Chad Rau went to the net unmolested before looking off Tim Thomas and firing a seed short-side for the games first score.

A borderline tripping call on Chris Kelly later on in the period left the Bruins shorthanded, and Bs killer Matt Cullen made them by on his second-effort wrister after fanning on the first shot attempt.

The Bruins poured it on with22 shot attempts in the final period after being spurred on by a long Shawn Thornton bout with Matt Kassian. But Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom provided the exclamation point when he robbed Milan Lucic at the bottom of the right face-off circle in the final minutes.
GOLD STAR: Shawn Thornton ended with four of his lines nine shots on net and he tangled with 6-foot-5 Matt Kassian in the third period hoping to spark his teammates. He took a couple of big punches early, but got in a few of his damaging shots in the Bs longest bout this season. After the game Thornton was sporting a big red welt on his forehead and was still catching his breath after the exhausting bout, and had emptied the tank trying to inspire his team. Thornton was one of the few Bs players that gave everything they had against the Wild on Sunday.

BLACK EYE: Brad Marchand has three goals, and only eight points, in the 14 games since coming back from a five-game suspension and has been much more tentative with his physical play. Marchand was close to invisible in 19:24 of ice time in a sleepy effort against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday afternoon, and has only one goal in nine games during the month of February. He may have caught some flak for the clipping hit on Alexei Emelin, but playing with the edge is the only way to go for the Bs agitator.

HONORABLE MENTION: Niklas Backstrom made 48 saves and frustrated the Bruins to the point where Milan Lucic twice went on stick-swinging rampages in the third period including smashing his stick to bits on the bench at the end of the third period before throwing it onto the ice as the final buzzer sounded. Backstrom was very good early in shutting down attempts from Daniel Paille and Andrew Ference, and then made 22 saves when it counted in the final period. He didnt look at all like a goalie riding a personal five-game losing streak, so perhaps Tuukka Rask can take heart in the bounce-back effort.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins had a handful of excellent scoring chances early in the contest when it was still up for grabs, but Niklas Backstrom stopped Daniel Paille cold on a couple of quality chances and stopped Andrew Ference on a one-timer during Bostons first period power play. Once the early scoring chances were off the board, the Wild took advantage of the frustrated Bs and rode their two second-period scores to a clean victory.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4 the number of times the Bruins have been shut out in 11 games without Nathan Horton after registering only two shutouts in their first 46 games with the Bs power forward.
QUOTE TO NOTE: Were a better team than we have been when weve been shut out lately. Frustration is something that can drag on for a long time if you let it. Like weve told the guys you can be bitter or better, so lets work on getting better here. Claude Julien on the mindset of the Bs team amid a 17-game stretch of mediocre hockey.

Talking Points: DeBrusk provides energy in win


Talking Points: DeBrusk provides energy in win

GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk gave the Bruins all kinds of energy out of the starting gate, and made a couple of plays that allowed his team to hold a lead despite getting outplayed in the opening 20 minutes. DeBrusk went hard to the net splitting a couple of San Jose defenders on the first goal, and fired a shot on net that created a rebound for Peter Cehlarik to cash in on. Then DeBrusk scored a little bit later on a rush where he beat Brent Burns in a foot race to a loose puck, then whistled a wrist shot past Aaron Dell for his fourth goal of the season. DeBrusk finished with a goal and two points along with a plus-2 and a team-high four shots on net while falling just short of 16 minutes of ice time in the victory. It was a strong effort from DeBrusk shortly after being a healthy scratch, and showed what he’s capable of when he gets his skating legs going.

BLACK EYE: Brent Burns was a complete mess for the Sharks. He was burnt by Jake DeBrusk in each of the first two Bruins goals in the first period with the B’s rookie going right at him with the attack. He also didn’t make it to the net with 12 of the 16 shots that he attempted and Burns finished with seven giveaways as well. It’s been a rough follow-up season for Burns after last year’s Norris Trophy season where he’s tried to do too much for the Sharks, and his game has suffered as a result. That seemed to be the case for Burns against the Bruins as well where his mistakes played a big role in the Sharks dropping the game.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins won the game when they managed to survive an opening 20 minutes where they were outshot 17-5, and even better they had a 2-1 lead based on some offensive fireworks from Jake DeBrusk. They were also aided by a couple of video reviews where the Bruins took a San Jose goal off the board when it was ruled that a crashing Joonas Donskoi punched a puck into the net with his glove. The Peter Cehlarik goal was also upheld at the other end after a challenge from the San Jose bench. It looked like DeBrusk was tripped before he partially crashed into Aaron Dell that set up the Cehlarik goal, and that’s clearly how the referees saw it after reviewing the play.

HONORABLE MENTION: It’s got to be Anton Khudobin, who stopped 36-of-37 shots and improved to 5-0-2 on the season with another strong win aided by a stalwart defensive effort in front of him. Khudobin now has 12 of the 20 points that the Bruins have amassed on the season, and he absolutely rewarded the B’s for opting to go with the Bruins backup for a second game in a row as they ride the hot goaltender. Khudobin was helped by a number of Bruins blocked shots in the third period when the game was still very tight, but it was also about Khudobin coming up with 16 saves in the first period when the Bruins were getting outplayed by the Sharks.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 – the number of Bruins rookies that have scored their first NHL goals this season, including Peter Cehlarik finally getting his first NHL score Saturday night in his 14th career game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We need them. They’re in the lineup and they’re playing significant minutes. We need them to produce for us. Tonight we needed some offense early, and they provided it for us.” – Bruce Cassidy, on the role of the rookies in the win where it was all first-year players Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen doing the scoring vs. San Jose. 

Khudobin stops 36 shots to help Bruins beat Sharks, 3-1


Khudobin stops 36 shots to help Bruins beat Sharks, 3-1

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Anton Khudobin enjoyed getting pestered with shots early. He didn't have time to let his mind wander.

Khudobin stopped 36 shots to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

"I like it busy," Khudobin said. "I don't have to think about anything else. The third-period start was unbelievable . . . I don't think I faced a shot until halfway through the period."

Peter CehlarikJake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen scored to help the Bruins get their second straight win after a four-game skid (0-3-1). Boston had totaled nine goals in its previous five games, scoring more than two for just the second time in nine November games.

"It went our way," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "They were clearly better than us but we come out 2-1 (in the three games on West Coast). If you stick with it, good things happen."

Khudobin remained unbeaten in regulation (5-0-2) and improved to 4-1 with a 0.99 goals-against average in five games against the Sharks.

Timo Meier scored and Aaron Dell finished with 18 saves for the Sharks, one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. San Jose has been held to two of fewer goals in five of their seven games this month.

"Guys in this room can score; we just have to do it," Sharks Logan Couture said. "I thought we had good chances and a lot of them at the end. We've got to create offense. If you don't score goals, you're not going to win."

Meier gave the Sharks, losers of two straight following wins in six of seven, a short-lived 1-0 lead after tapping in a rebound 4:50 into the game. Daniel O'Regan, making his season debut, won the puck behind the net and skated around to take the shot that bounced to Meier. It was O'Regan's first career assist and second career point.

"I just kind of fished it out and wanted to bring it to the net," O'Regan said. "Timo made a nice finish."

Cehlarik, in his 14th game, scored his first career goal about 1 1/2 minutes later to tie it for the Bruins.

Boston took the lead on DeBrusk's goal with 9:14 left in the first. Charlie McAvoy cleared a puck in his zone that DeBrusk, one of three rookies who scored, chased down and easily beat Dell 1-on-1.

"It's massive," DeBrusk said. "We all want it so bad and we all work so hard. These are big games for us."

Heinen made it 3-1 with 5:51 left in the third. Kevan Miller skated down the ice, drawing all the attention on the right side. He passed across the crease, from where Heinen tapped it in.

"He made a heck of a play," Heinen said. "I just put my stick on the ice."

The Sharks had a goal negated for the second straight game, this one two minutes in.

"We got enough looks tonight to score," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "We're doing more good than bad we're just not being rewarded."

NOTES: O'Regan was recalled before the game. He's the leading scorer for the Barracuda of the AHL. ... The Sharks have had three consecutive goals reversed after challenges dating to Thursday's game against the Florida Panthers. ... Sharks F Joel Ward has recorded points in six of his last eight games. ... DeBrusk, who assisted on Cehlarik's goal, recorded his first multi-point game since Oct. 14, a span of 14 games.


Bruins: At the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.

Sharks: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.