Bruins move into second place in Atlantic
Defeat Blackhawks for fifth straight win to climb in divisionby Matt Kalman / NHL.com Correspondent
The Boston Bruins moved into second place in the Atlantic Division and got closer to qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in three seasons with a 3-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Sunday.
The Bruins (43-30-6) are one point ahead of the idle Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators in the Atlantic; the Maple Leafs and Senators each have two games in hand. Boston is also six points ahead of the fifth-place Tampa Bay Lightning, who have two games in hand and host the Dallas Stars on Sunday.
Goaltender Anton Khudobin extended his winning streak to six games with 41 saves for the Bruins, who won their season-high fifth in a row following a four-game losing streak. Ryan Spooner, Patrice Bergeron and Kevan Miller scored for Boston.
WATCH: All Bruins vs. Blackhawks highlights
"He was huge," Bergeron said of Khudobin. "They're a good team, they're going to get some good looks and they certainly did. I thought also we did a good job trying to deny their speed in the neutral zone as much as possible. It's going to happen where they're going to get some breaks. But he was huge when we needed him and we needed him a few times today on big saves and he was definitely there."
The Blackhawks (50-22-7) failed to gain ground on the Washington Capitals in the race for the Presidents' Trophy one day after Chicago clinched the Central Division title and the top seed in the Western Conference. Chicago trails Washington, who has two games in hand, by three points. Washington plays at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.
Artemi Panarin and Jordin Tootoo scored, and Corey Crawford made 26 saves for the Blackhawks, who had won their past two games.
Video: BOS@CHI: Panarin finds a great bounce, scores
"They scored early and then got one at of the first late in the period," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "You're down 2-0 and you've got to claw your way back and they got the two-goal lead again. We got ourselves a couple decent looks; I don't think we gave up much today. But it's certainly tough coming back from chasing the game all day."
Spooner scored on a tip-in at 6:34 of the first period to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Bergeron scored a power-play goal at 18:47 to make it 2-0.
Panarin beat Khudobin with 1:28 remaining in the second period to get the Blackhawks within 2-1.
The Bruins regained their two-goal lead on Miller's goal at 9:15 of the third period to make it 3-1. Chicago got back within one 25 seconds later when Tootoo scored at 9:40 to make it 3-2.
Goal of the game
Miller gained the Chicago zone after a neutral-zone turnover and skated to the top of the left circle before beating Crawford with a wrist shot high to the glove side.
Video: BOS@CHI: K. Miller nets one from the circle
Save of the game
After a deflected shot got past Bruins center David Krejci in front of Boston's net, Richard Panik tried to slam the puck past Khudobin from the left side of the slot but Khudobin kept it out 3:19 into the third period to keep the Bruins ahead 2-1.
Highlight of the game
Chicago forward Patrick Kane's slap shot from the right dot changed direction when it hit Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara's stick in front, but Khudobin gloved the puck and held on with 1:10 remaining in the third to keep the Bruins ahead.
Unsung performance of the game
Chara had one assist and led the Bruins with 23:44 of ice time. His last shift lasted the final 1:41 of the third period, 1:33 of which came with Crawford out of the Chicago net for an extra attacker. Chara blocked two shots in the closing minutes to preserve Boston's lead.
They said it
"That was one of the all-time great passes by [Panik]." -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Richard Panik's assist on Artemi Panarin's goal, which came after Panarin's initial shot rebounded off Panik who was down in the crease
"I didn't play for a week, so I was nervous. The guys did a [heck] of a job. They boxed out, I was able to see the puck and I was relaxed after." -- Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin
Need to know
Kane played despite getting hit in the face with a puck during warmups. He had a cut on his upper lip stitched up. ... Panarin extended his goal streak to four games. He has five goals during that span. ... Bruins forward Brad Marchand has a four-game point streak (two goals, three assists). ... Blackhawks forward Artem Anisimov missed his 10th straight game with a lower-body injury. Quenneville said Anisimov, who has 45 points (22 goals, 23 assists) in 64 games, will start skating Monday.
Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports, NESN, NHL.TV)
Blackhawks: At the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, WGN, NHL.TV)