So for the past couple of weeks, the Bruins were in a sort of slump, rarely getting wins or goals. Last week, against the Habs, it looked like they were going to turn that around when they scored five goals. When it was 5-3 Bruins in the third period, Boston fans thought it was all wrapped up. But no, just as they had been doing, they gave up the lead and the game went in to overtime. They eventually lost it deep into a shootout. After that, they had their last two-day break between games for this season and went into Philadelphia for a matinée game. They seem to not do as well when the game isn’t at night, and that held true as they seemed to have no energy and lost.
After that, they had two games where it seems that they have turned a corner. First, they went into Buffalo. Sabres goalie Ryan Miller didn’t choke against us like he usually does, perhaps because he was at home. However, on the other end, Bruins backup goalie Anton Khudobin was playing huge. The two kept it scoreless until there were only seven minutes left in the game. At that point, David Krejci scored with an assist by Nathan Horton and Matt Bartkowski (a defenseman we’ve had to bring up from the minors because of injuries). Three minutes later, Horton scored on a tip-in from Krejci and Milan Lucic. The Krejci-Horton-Lucic line really stepped up in that game. But they weren’t alone..
Khudobin made huge saves throughout the game and eventually earned his second shutout in just 10 games that he has started. This is the same number of shutouts that our top goalie Tuukka Rask has this season too.. in 20 starts. Further, while Rask has a 2.02 GAA, Khudobin is right there with him with a 2.07 GAA.. and Khudobin is actually better in save percentage with a .929 to Rask’s .922. This is why the title of this post has “backup” goalie with quotes. There are rumors that Khudobin will become our top goalie. I think they are just that, rumors, but I do believe that Rask will be seeing some more bench time than originally expected.
Then there was last night’s game against the Senators in Boston. When Ottawa scored less than three minutes into the game, Bruins fans were thinking “not again.” But less than a minute later, David Krejci scored on a tip-in, assisted by Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic, to tie it back up. Then, a minute later, Tyler Seguin scored on a tip-in, assisted by Brad Marchand. All the while, Khudobin was having an amazing game in net, again.
We held the lead until two minutes into the third period when Ottawa scored to tie the game at 2-2. Our offense continued to play hard and get tons of scoring chances. They ended up with a total of 50 shots on goal by the end of the game, which contributed to this game having a league-high 97 total shots. About halfway through the period, Horton scored off of a rebound from a shot by Lucic, which was made possible by hard work from Krejci and Dougie Hamilton. Horton now has a four-game goal streak going!
The offense has now stepped up for two consecutive games, earning wins in both. However, much of the credit goes to Khudobin with some outstanding play in net. In this second win, he made a whopping career-high 45 saves on 47 shots, including seven on seven shots during Ottawa power plays! He ended with a .957 save percentage! We are now 4-0 against the Senators this season.
Can we just enjoy this uplifted Bruins team? Of course not.. About halfway through the second period, we took a huge loss when Patrice Bergeron got hit in the head by the elbow of Ottawa’s Colin Greening while trying to shoot from the slot. Bergeron has had three concussions already in his NHL career, so this is very scary. He left the game and did not return. This is devastating to the team as I would call him the quintessential Bruin. He’s a forward who can make plays and score, but who is also in the running for the Selke Trophy (for the best defensive forward) every year that he plays.. and he won it last year. He is also the best faceoff winner in the league (61.5% this season), as well as being huge on the penalty kill. He’ll even throw down in a fight. He does everything. I really hope he’s alright. Lets all send him our best wishes and prayers.
On a side-note, the Bruins just acquired the legendary Jaromir Jagr from the Dallas Stars. This is very exciting. It remains to be seen if we gave up too much for him, but I don’t think so. We traded two prospects and a second round pick that will become a first round pick if we make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. The two prospects are Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne, who are 23 and 19 years old, respectively. They are both mainly tough guys who will beat people up. However, when they eventually get NHL time (they’ve been in the minors and juniors), they will likely only be fourth-liners without much offensive production. So I don’t think it was much to give up for Jagr. Especially considering he has tons and tons of trophies, awards and medals.. and two Stanley Cup rings as well. And check out this stat: he has a whopping +/- rating of +275 for his career! ..and that’s a career that began 23 years ago in 1990, so there’s been plenty of time for that to even out, but it hasn’t. He is an offensive juggernaut and is expected to instantly improve our power play. He also has 13 NHL records! The most impressive of these are most consecutive 30+ goal seasons, with 15 (1991-2007) and most consecutive 70+ point seasons, with 15. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! :O
It’s not just his amazing offensive play that you should be excited about, though. The big benefit is his veteran leadership. He’s 41 years old and began his NHL career 23 years ago! He has been on championship teams. Remember Mark Recchi? He brought the same to our team two years ago when we won the Stanly Cup. He retired after that at the age of 43. Jagr may just be a “rental” player for this year, but he will have a huge impact.
So things are looking good for the Bruins as they head into the playoffs. I only hope Patrice Bergeron didn’t get another concussion. If so, it could easily be the end of his career with how many he’s already had. Once again, please send your wishes and prayers to him along with me.
Here’s a video of Anton Khudobin’s big save on Tyler Ennis:
Here’s a video of Nathan Horton scoring on a great play by Lucic and Krejci:
Here are the highlights from the 3/31/13 game against the Sabres:
Here’s a video of Tyler Seguin scoring on a give-and-go with Brad Marchand:
Here’s a video of Nathan Horton scoring off of Milan Lucic’s rebound:
Here’s a video of Zdeno Chara putting a big hit on Chris Neil:
Here are the highlights from the 4/2/13 game against the Senators:
Here’s a video of the Bruins’ newly acquired Jaromir Jagr’s top 10 plays:
Here’s another, better quality video with more Jaromir Jagr highlights:
Thanks for reading,