Khudobin holds down the fort for the Boston Bruins

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 19: Anton Khudobin
BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 19: Anton Khudobin /

The Boston Bruins headed into Buffalo for the second game of a back-to-back, missing one of their best playmakers.

The Boston Bruins were without David Krejci for a second straight game with an upper body injury.  While the Bruins don’t seem to be stressing Krejci’s injury; they also didn’t earlier this season when he ended up missing almost 5 weeks.

Key things going into this game: Defensive play, and the Boston Bruins top line of Bergeron, Marchand, Pastrnak.  Both Marchand and Pastrnak come into tonights’ game riding point streaks. Marchand is currently riding a 9 game point streak with 6 goals, 8 assists and a +7 rating; while Pastrnak is on a league high 12 game point streak with 5 goals, 9 assists and a +7 rating.

BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 18: David Pastrnak
BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 18: David Pastrnak /

This week will be one of the busiest weeks for Boston throughout the remaining of the season; it consists of four games in six nights.  Right now the Boston Bruins have the fewest games played out of the entire league. Seems as though they are looking to make that up within this one week time frame.

1st Period

The first few minutes of the period are what most of us expected.  It consisted of the Bruins trying to find their legs.  The first six minutes were probably the worst as the Sabres had attacking zone time through the entire time of play until the 1st commercial break.

Kevan Miller and Zach Bogosian dropped the gloves at the halfway mark of the period, hoping to start some momentum for both teams.  As the period went on you could see Boston started gaining their speed, getting in good stick work, providing good gaps, and started to pay more attention to detail. Luckily for Boston, Anton Khudobin was ready for the game.

BUFFALO, NY – DECEMBER 19: Kevan Miller
BUFFALO, NY – DECEMBER 19: Kevan Miller /

The Sabres ended up getting 17 shots on goal in the 1st period, but Khudobin was seeing the puck very well.  Making sure he was square to all shots faced, he kept the Bruins alive.  17 shots on goal in one period is about 10 too many in my opinion.

2nd Period

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You could see the last 2-3 minutes of the 1st period, Boston’s top line was starting to pick up the pace and was bringing their skating legs.  Well the started off the second period right where they left off the first.  They were able to put solid pressure on the Sabres defense core and gaining good speed.  They were also playing a good natural zone game while being able to get the pucks behind the Sabres defense to get some solid scoring chances.

With 9:46 remaining in the period, Jake DeBrusk was skating in open ice moving wing-to-wing as he went around Jason Pominville with a curl and drag move to prevent the poke check and snipped a shot into the back of the net getting his 8th goal of the season.  In DeBrusk’s last 5 games he has 2 goals, 3 assists, 12 shots on net – for a +2 rating.

BUFFALO, NY – DECEMBER 19: Jake DeBrusk /

The Bruins ended the period with only giving us 9 shots on goal rather than the 17 that they had given up on the 1st period.  Khudobin continued to see the puck well.  At times it would seem as though he is “standing on his head” keeping the Bruins in this game and the Sabres off the score sheet.

3rd Period

The Bruins were able to come away with not only the win tonight but another 2 points to help improve and expand upon the lead they have against Montreal within the Atlantic division.  The final score was 3-0 with Khudobin getting the shut out on a 36 save performance.  Both Backes and Schaller scored empty net goals within less than 2 minutes remaining in the game.

BUFFALO, NY – DECEMBER 19: Jake DeBrusk /

Khudobin remains the star of the game, he kept the Bruins in this game during the first period when the Bruins came out as if they were still on the airplane flying from Boston to Buffalo.  Khudobin was the only player not the ice tonight that didn’t play less than 24 hours ago.

Charlie McAvoy and Zdeno Chara played a pretty significant role in the win tonight as they were up against Buffalo’s top line the entire night.  They were able to keep the Sabers towards the outside all while protecting the slot area while allowing their goalie to see where the shots are coming from.

Next: Bruins top priority for the future

Tomorrow the Bruins will rest before they jump right back into action to play their 3rd game in 4 nights when they face the Winnipeg Jets.  The only bad news to come out of tonight’s game and that both Marchand’s and Pastrnak’s point streaks have come to an end.