– For just the third time this season Sunday night, the Boston Bruins shut out their opponent. It was the first time, however, that Anton Khudobin
was the goalie between the pipes. Tuukka Rask
had the first two Bruins’ shutouts of the season – a 1-0 win over Toronto on February 2 and a 3-0 victory over Philadelphia on March 9.
The B’s 2-0 win over the Sabres in Buffalo gave Khudobin his first shutout in a Bruins uniform, and the second of his NHL career. (His first came on January 16, 2011, while he was a member of the Minnesota Wild, when he shutdown the Vancouver Canucks, stopping all 32 shots that came his way.)
Khudobin made 26 saves Sunday, and David Krejci and Nathan Horton scored 2:50 apart in the third period to break the 52 minutes of scoreless hockey, en route to improving his record to 7-3-0 on the season, with a .925 save percentage and 2.07 goals against average.
The highlight of Khudobin’s night was a save he made in the first period on a two-on-one break against Sabres forwards Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno that gave the B's momentum. A give-and-go 2-on-1 saw Ennis pass the puck over to Foligno, who threw a feed right back through the slot. Ennis then cut through the top of the crease and tried to reach one around Khudobin’s right leg. But Khudobin was there, extending his right pad to the post to keep the puck out.
After the game in the locker room, Khudobin had a huge smile on his face and was particularly happy about being able to make the pad stop on Ennis in the first.
“Oh, yeah. That was interesting save, because I just felt it under my right pad back and I didn't know where it was going,” Khudobin explained. “I kind of just swung my pad over there. I didn't know, actually, if it was right on the goal line. I thought it was under my pad, but a save is a save.”
B’s Head Coach Claude Julien was asked after the win whether or not a goalie could give a team some life by making a few big saves and said, "No doubt a goaltender can do that for your team and I thought he was on top of his game tonight."
“I thought that big pad save there in the middle of the first just kind of gave us some life,” added Julien. “And all of a sudden, we just kind of picked up our game and I thought we got better from that point on.”
The win snapped the Bruins’ two-game losing streak and now leaves them just one point behind Montreal (49 points) for first place in the Northeast Division. The B’s hope when they return home to face the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on Tuesday that they can build off of the win and the play of their goaltenders.
“He was great,” said Krejci of Khudobin. “In the first period, he made a great stop on Ennis there, so obviously when you have a goalie like that – and Tuukks when he's in the net – it's gives you so much confidence.
“We're just worrying about our game and they're stopping the pucks for us. It was a good start tonight, we'll see if it was the start of something good.”