The Bruins snapped a two-game losing streak with a 2-0 shutout win at Buffalo on Sunday behind a brilliant 26-save performance from Anton Khudobin. David Krejci scored his eighth goal of the season to snap a scoreless tie 12:54 into the third period and Nathan Horton got his 11th of the season just less than three minutes later to add some insurance.
Khudobin shines -- If not for Khudobin, this game could have gone awry for the Bruins. They gave up some odd-man rushes in the first period and not until about the halfway mark did they start to limit legit scoring chances from the Sabres. But Khudobin, as he has been many times despite being a backup, was up to the task and continues to be there when Tuukka Rask needs relief or the team needs a lift.
Horton, Lucic finally waking up -- While they had trouble converting scoring chances throughout the first two periods, Horton and Milan Lucic finally appear to be waking up. Both were much more physical and were able create space and scoring chances. Horton helped create the space for Krejci, who scored the dirty type of goal this line needs more of. Then Horton scored his third goal in as many games, with Lucic getting a helper. It is a good sign to finally see Horton and Lucic do their jobs, helping the crafty Krejci out.
Another goalless first period -- For the seventh straight game, the Bruins failed to light the lamp in the first period and failed to have the start they need to climb out of their current funk. They need to set the tone early and make opponents know they’re in for a difficult game.
Men in stripes answer Julien’s call -- Claude Julien has been very vocal recently about how he believes embellishment is ruining the game. He saw two such calls in one period Sunday night. Sabres pest Steve Ott got sent to the penalty box for embellishment after he was hit from behind by Zdeno Chara, who got a cross-checking penalty on the play. Then just less than five minutes later, Bruins forward Tyler Seguin got the same treatment as the referee deemed he embellished after being held by Christian Ehrhoff.
Thankfully for Bruins, no Vanek Sunday -- Sabres sniper Thomas Vanek has lit up the Bruins this season with three goals and two assists in three games against them this season. Thankfully for the Bruins, Vanek wasn’t in the lineup Sunday as he missed his third straight game with a muscle strain. Vanek leads the Sabres in points with 33 and goals with 16.
Bartkowski returns; Johnson sits -- After being scratched for the last two games -- one of them because he was supposed to be traded in a package for Jarome Iginla -- defenseman Matt Bartkowski was back in the lineup and Aaron Johnson was up top in the press box with Lane MacDermid as a healthy scratch. Bartkowski logged 11:05 on ice and got his first career NHL point assisting on Krejci’s goal.
Here’s what the lineup looked like:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Aaron Johnson-Johnny Boychuk