Quick Hits: Anton Khudobin stellar afternoon leads Bruins over Blackhawks

Quick Hits: Anton Khudobin stellar afternoon leads Bruins over Blackhawks

It’s hard to get motivated for something when there’s really nothing at stake. The Blackhawks experienced that on Sunday, a game that meant nothing to them in the standings but meant plenty to the Boston Bruins, who won 3-2.

We’ll see who plays and who sits over the final three regular-season games. Don’t expect the race for the Presidents’ Trophy to impact the Blackhawks’ decisions. Now before we hit the road, the notables in this one.

What Worked: Boston’s early game. The Bruins started Sunday in a wildcard spot and came out like a team wanting to improve on that position. Getting a 2-0 lead in the first – their second goal came with just 1:03 remaining in the period – went a long way to getting them there. Their goaltender did the rest.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. The Blackhawks’ first one only lasted 17 seconds, so you can’t really assess that one. But the next two generated little for the Blackhawks, who looked better at 5-on-5 than they did 5-on-4 on Sunday.

Star of the game: Anton Khudobin. He faced 43 shots in this one, the quality of them increasing as the game continued. With the Bruins trying to hold onto a postseason spot they needed everyone on board. Khudobin more than did his job, stopping 41 of those 43.

He Said It: “I think we want to play our hockey. We want to play good hockey. We want to play our game, [be] [laying our best hockey going into the playoffs. The fun hockey. The real hockey’s going to start here in a week, 10 days and we want to be rolling and playing our best hockey and that’s what these games are for.” Brent Seabrook on the Blackhawks’ final three regular-season games.

By the Numbers:

10th – Where Artemi Panarin currently sits among NHL forwards in points (72), thanks to his goal on Sunday (Evgeni Malkin is currently listed at No. 9 with the same amount of points). If Panarin finishes the season in the Top 10 among forwards, he will collect bonuses for the second consecutive season.

36 – Assists for Brent Seabrook this season. He’s three shy of his career high of 39 set in 2010-11.

5 – Shots on goal for Brent Seabrook, one of four Blackhawks players to have that many on Sunday. It’s the fourth time this season Seabrook’s had five or more shots on goal in a game.

18 – Faceoffs won, out of the 30 he took, by Jonathan Toews. He was the only Blackhawks player to finish above 50 percent in that category.

Blackhawks give thanks to Mike Gapski, who's set to celebrate 2,500th game

USA Today

Blackhawks give thanks to Mike Gapski, who's set to celebrate 2,500th game

For 33 years, Mike Gapski has been the glue of the Blackhawks' support staff. He's the longest-tenured head athletic trainer in the NHL, landing the job in 1987 shortly after graduating from the University of Illinois-Chicago.

It's been a dream come true for Gapski to work in his hometown all these years, and on Thursday he is set to be involved in his 2,500th regular season game with the Blackhawks.

Current and former players took the time to congratulate and give thanks to Gapski, and share what he's meant to the Blackhawks:

Kirby Dach:

"It's crazy, you have the same guys in junior, but it's a little bit different level here. These guys take care of us, it's unbelievable the job they do. It's a tremendous accomplishment for Gapper. Couldn't be happier for him. I've only known him for a little bit and he's a really nice guy and helps everybody out and is very kind and caring. And that's what you need in a trainer, somebody who's going to have your best interest at heart. It's good for our group and obviously he's been through a lot with some of the older guys in here. I'm sure it'll be a fun celebration for those guys and for our group as well."

Alex DeBrincat:

"He's great. He's always helping. You try to stay out of the training room, but it's always nice to go in there and talk with those guys. Gapper specifically is a great guy to have around, always fun and lighthearted around there. He obviously knows his stuff, he's been in the league a long time, he's seen a lot of injuries. He's pretty quick to help us out and know what we need to get better."

Steve Konroyd:

"Michael Gapski, congratulations on 2,500 games. You're one of the first guys I ever met when I got traded to the Chicago Blackhawks way back in 1988. You're knowledgeable, you're professional and above all else you're a great guy. I was very proud to have you as a trainer and I think the Blackhawks are very lucky to have you over all these years."

Jamal Mayers:

"Just want to say congratulations to Mike Gapski on 2,500 games. Wow. That's a lot of games, Gapper, congratulations. I know all the players that have ever had you are thankful to have you around. You're a professional, you do things the right way, you really care about the players, it comes across every single day. And thanks for keeping me together when I was 37 and 38 at the end of my career."

Eddie Olczyk:

"Hey Frank, congratulations — 2,500 games standing behind the bench for our Chicago Blackhawks. A tremendous honor, congratulations to you and your family. One thing I love about you, Frank, is you're the same guy today as you were back in the late '90s when we were working together when I was still a player. So congratulations and here's to another 2,500 more."

Patrick Sharp:

"Gapper, Gappity, Frank, Mike Gapski, thank you so much for all the years that you've put in to the Chicago Blackhawks training staff. Countless players have come through the organization, nobody's got a bad thing to say about you. 2,500 games, that's no joke. How about we do another 2,500? Congratulations on all your success. I came to Chicago in 2005 as a young man, spent my whole adult life with having you taking care of me at the rink, so thank you for everything over the years. All the best to you and your family, Frank."

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Recently retired Kris Versteeg to be honored before Blackhawks game

Recently retired Kris Versteeg to be honored before Blackhawks game

Kris Versteeg recently retired and now the Blackhawks are honoring him with the team’s “One More Shift.”

Versteeg began the season with the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, but retired in November after playing six games for the IceHogs this season.

The 33-year-old wrote an emotional letter to the Blackhawks organization after requesting his contract with Rockford be terminated.

Versteeg will be honored before Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. He will join the team on the ice for the national anthem and highlights of his career will be featured in the United Center.

Versteeg won two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks, in 2010 and 2015. He is part of the Blackhawks celebrating the 10-year anniversary of that 2010 Cup win. Brian Campbell was given the same treatment on Nov. 21.

The first 10,000 fans into the UC can get replicas of the 2010 ring.

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