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Khudobin lifts Hurricanes to win over old team, Bruins

by Kurt Dusterberg /

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Anton Khudobin had to wait his turn for another start in goal, but when the time came Sunday, he was equal to the challenge.

Khudobin stopped 19 shots through overtime, then stopped Reilly Smith, Torey Krug and Patrice Bergeron in the shootout for a 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins.

"It's my first time playing against my former team," said Khudobin, who played for Boston from 2011 to 2013. "It's just (playing against) the same people I played with. But I have my team right now. I know what I have to do."

Khudobin had a hard-luck start to the season, posting an 0-8-2 record before earning a win in his most recent start Dec. 23 against the New Jersey Devils. That was also a shootout win, and it left him burning to get back in the net. After Eric Staal scored in the third round of the shootout and Khudobin fended off Bergeron's bid, the goaltender gave a long, emphatic fist pump.

"I was so pumped today," said Khudobin, who has stopped 13 of 15 shootout attempts in his career. "It's not because it was Boston, it's just because I want to play more and more. I wanted to win so badly. I'm glad it happened. That's why my emotions [took over] my mind."

Patrick Dwyer opened the scoring with 33 seconds remaining in the first period. He tapped in a rebound after Tuukka Rask bobbled Jay McClement's shot from the slot.

Playing on less than 24 hours rest, Boston (19-15-6) played a sluggish first period. They did not record a shot until Reilly Smith took a pass from David Krejci and shot low with 3:05 left, only to be stopped by Khudobin coming across the crease. The Hurricanes (12-23-4) outshot the Bruins, 14-4.

"On both sides of the puck, (the Bruins) were a little slow starting, but they found their game," Dwyer said. "From our first line to our fourth line, we were in there banging bodies, putting pressure on their defense."

The Bruins looked sharper in second period, and they had something to show for it when Bergeron tied the game. After Brad Marchand held on to the puck behind the net, he found Bergeron at the top of the right circle for a slap shot that tied the game at 14:35. Dougie Hamilton picked up the secondary assist.

Boston nearly took the lead in the final minute of the period. Krejci and Smith teamed up again, this time with Smith ringing the post after Krejci pulled Khudobin away from the net.

Rask was sharp in the third period, twice stopping shots from Tim Gleason that changed direction through traffic. Khudobin stopped a Milan Lucic snap shot in the final minute.

The overtime featured some end-to-end action as the teams skated 3-on-3 for the final 1:03, following coincidental minors to Smith and Victor Rask.

But Staal was the only player to find the net the rest of the way, connecting in the third round of the shootout. The Hurricanes captain came into the game 4-for-19 in shootout attempts, but said he knew how to approach his opportunity.

"Don't think," Staal said. "Just go out there and see what you've got when you come up the ice. I had a little bit of an idea of what I wanted to do. Act confident, skate confident and snap it in."

Staal moved in confidently before sending a quick wrist shot past Rask's stick and inside the post."

"For me, it's a relatively easier shot because of my reach," Staal said. "The goalies' angles are so key. They can read anything off your stick so well. It's not easy. I felt like I had an opening there and I got a good shot off."

The win was the second straight for Carolina, a feat they have not accomplished since concluding a four-game winning streak Nov. 7. The Hurricanes can blame a scarcity of scoring for the lack of a winning streak. Carolina has scored two goals or fewer in 16 of its past 17 games.

"I'm used to it, but I'm not going to accept it," said Carolina coach Bill Peters. "We're going to start doing more things off offensive zone faceoffs; we're going to get our power play ready. We're going to put our offensive guys in more of a position to score. We need [Jeff' Skinner, and [Nathan] Gerbe, and some of these guys to start showing up consistently on the score sheet."

The Hurricanes are tied with the Buffalo Sabres for the fewest goals in the NHL with 77, but the Carolina coach said he envisions a day when his team will find its scoring touch.

"I think we're going to break the seal and be fine," he said. "But in the meantime, let's make sure we're winning these games however we have to do it. Right now it looks like it's 2-1."

The Bruins are searching for answers of their own, after slipping to 1-1-3 in their past five games.

"We're not getting the results we want," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "We're self-inflicting a lot of that. When we get a chance, we don't bury them. It's OK to want to help your team, but the best way to help your team is by doing your job and doing it well."

After gaining one point in each of the past three games, Julien said he wants more from his team.

"If I had the answer, it would have been fixed a long time ago," he said. "That's the nature of sports, that you've got to get the guys to try and make the right plays. You've got to keep your intensity but you have to be in control of your decisions."

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