Kevin Hoffman/USA Today Sports

Bruins 3, Sabres 0: Anton Khudobin powers Bruins to victory

Ty Anderson
December 19, 2017 - 10:39 pm

It was in the first period of Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over the Sabres that Anton Khudobin made as many saves as he did in a 60-minute loss to the Capitals last week.

And it was on the back of the 31-year-old Khudobin, in what was an apparent ode to his November hot streak, that the Bruins rolled to their second straight victory.

On the second leg of a traveling back-to-back that began with a Boston explosion featuring seven goals against the Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky, it was fair to expect the Black and Gold to have a few less bullets in their chamber. Especially early.

That played out to be the case, too, and it’s hard to imagine where the Bruins would have been had it not been for the opening 17-for-17 performance from Khudobin. The strong start came with nearly all of the Sabres’ shots coming from right in front of the B’s crease, and with Khudobin successfully remaining composed and not ‘fighting’ the puck.

But Khudobin’s headstands -- and there were more than a few, including one that popped his mask off -- would mean nothing without a goal against Robin Lehner.

They got that, too, when Jake DeBrusk took advantage of some bad d-zone positioning from the Sabres’ Marco Scandella and ripped one over Lehner (and took out Lehner’s Gatorade bottle in the process) at the 10:14 mark of the second period.

It was the edge the Bruins needed, as it every tied minute left the door open for the Sabres, but it became complete with another nine stops in the second period, and then a heavy (in the sense of quality chances against) 10-stop third period by Khudobin.

And it was only after empty-net goals from Tim Schaller and David Backes that the Bruins were able to breath a little easier, and secure a shutout victory for No. 35.

It’s a win against a crap team, and a game that they should almost always, yes, but this was the day that previously underachieving B’s teams would have found a way to drop.

Playing the night after a seven-goal outburst against a much better team (teams tend to find ways to ‘get up’ for those games naturally), down David top-six center Krejci, and on the road, the Bruins had plenty of reason to shut it down after a sleepy 20 minutes.

But they didn’t.

They instead dug in, battled through fatigue, and found 20-man contributions -- whether it was empty-net goal geometry lessons from Schaller, last-second blocks from Noel Acciari, or three-zone dekes from the Bergeron line -- until Buffalo's misery-powered arena emptied out. 

It all complemented a 36-save shutout perfectly.

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