Bits and pieces on last night’s win over Carolina:
- Khudobin looked sharp I don’t think Tuukka Rask needs to be worried about losing his starting gig, but Anton Khudobin played very well last night. In his other start with the B’s (last year in Ottawa), it was kind of a cute thing, like “aw, look at this new guy! I hope he does well!” This was, of course, before Tim Thomas’ sabbatical made Khudobin the de facto back-up, so now his performances deserve a bit more scrutiny. I thought he did a great job, to be honest. He allowed three goals: one on a deflection, one on a terrific move by Jeff Skinner, and one five-hole by Eric Staal. There were no glaring mistakes, and he even made a few sparklers (his glove save on the 5-on-3 comes to mind). All in all, a very solid performance by the Kazakh netminder. He’ll get another start sooner rather than later.
- Seguin gets off the schnide Sure, it was an empty-netter, but a goal is a goal. Seguin has been generally unnoticeable in the B’s first five games, not getting many scoring chances and failing to make plays. He’s looked a little disoriented and a little light on his skates, perhaps because of his extended stay in Switzerland. I didn’t see much Swiss hockey during the lockout, but the Euro leagues usually place a higher emphasis on speed and skill than they do on grinding it out and physical play. I’ve watched Seguin lose a number of puck battles so far this year, almost like he’s surprised that someone bumped him off the puck. He’ll come around eventually, and hopefully getting on the score sheet gets his confidence up.
- Thornton looks lost Shawn Thornton is usually one of the more dependable Bruins. He may not always make offensive plays, but he always makes the smart play: chipping the puck clear, dumping it in, etc. That hasn’t been the case so far this year. He mentioned something to the media the other day about how he was told that he’s sick, so maybe that’s it. But he made a turnover that led directly to a goal in New York, and made another one last night. It’s hard to criticize him because he’s usually such a good foot solider for the B’s, but he’s been off so far.
- No killer instinct This will sound like searching for a gripe after the win, but the fact of the matter is that the B’s blew a two-goal lead twice last night, letting Carolina back in the game instead of pulling away. Cam Ward did make some big saves, including a beautiful two-pad stack on Nathan Horton towards the end of the first, but the B’s also committed a number of errors that gave Carolina some room to operate. The Hurricanes aren’t an elite team, so the B’s were able to squeeze out a win at the end, but they’ll need to show the ability to salt games away against better clubs.
- Bergeron smash! I’m not entirely sure what set Patrice Bergeron off last night, leading him to go after Jeff Skinner and, at one point, mouth something like “come on, let’s go” at the teeny-bopper lookalike. NESN, being the sterling network that it is, had no cameras on that end of the ice (or if they did, they didn’t show a replay of it). I saw this on Puck Daddy this morning, where they wonder aloud if it was a slewfoot. I went back and watched it last night, and originally thought it was more of an arm-bar by Skinner, where he locked arms with Bergeron and fell back, dropping the Bruin forward to his back. According to that Puck Daddy link, it’s something Skinner has done before, and while it isn’t exactly a slewfoot, it’s pretty cheap. The only other time I can remember Bergeron popping his top was when he clocked Josh Gorges in a fight a few years back, so Skinner must have done something pretty cheap.