The Bruins have been more or less disappointed by the work of the Bruins’ first line. In the last few weeks, the Krejci line has stepped up and have been a force again in the NHL. The Bruins earned themselves two more points in a rare shutout win against the Buffalo Sabres. “When things haven’t really been going for us, we’ve kind of got frustrated and let it get the better of us,” B’s forward and resurging butt kicker and name taker Milan Lucic said. “But today, we just tried to stay positive and tried to stick with the game plan and stay patient, and it worked out for us.”
“It was about staying positive and sticking with the game plan and doing the right things, but every period we talked about getting a little better in certain areas, and guys answered well,” Coach Claude Julien said. “After the second period, we needed a better net-front presence and better net drive, and I think when you look at the goals, that’s what happened.” Was it the cleanest game they’ve ever played? No, but we got to see more of the defensive minded two way hockey we know the Bruins can play. We also got to see that kind of play on the road, something the Bruins have been weak on. Coach Julien felt the same way. “Whether it’s been at home or on the road, we haven’t been playing that well (lately), so it’s important just to play our game again,”
The lines played well, and the Krejci line did its work tonight. David Krejci himself broke the stalemate halfway through the third period. Nathan Horton skated got aggressive towards the net. and While his incoming backhand was stopped by the Sabres’ Ryan Miller, Krejci got the rebound and the loose puck past Miller to get the Bruins on the board, notching up his eighth goal of the season. Krejci helped set up the primary assist on Horton’s goal three minutes later. #46 used his speed to race up the left side of the ice where he found Horton ready in front of the net. Horton’s tap in got him his eleventh goal of the season.
The real star of the show tonight was Bruins’ back up goaltender Anton Khudobin. Khudobin stopped all twenty six shots that came at him in the game. The Kazakhstani goalie got his first got his first NHL shutout since playing for the Wild in the ’2010-’11 season. He was especially impressive in the first period. The Bruins were having trouble getting themselves up to pace, and it was Dobby’s hard work in that first period that kept the Bruins alive, and Buffalo scoreless. Matt Bartkowski was thrilled with Khudobin’s performance (Bartkowski also scored his first career NHL point with an assist on the Krejci goal.) “The first 10 minutes, we wouldn’t have won the game if he didn’t play that well. They should have had three or four goals, definitely. … That first 10 minutes was huge.”
Khudobin now has a 7-3 record, with a .925 save percentage, and a 2.07 goals against average. Khudobin’s numbers are in the top ten now for goalies in save percentage and goals against (placing him in the same field as Tuukka Rask.)