The Bs continued with Operation: Don’t Get Hurt in a potential yet anticlimactic playoff preview in Ottawa last night. In the season’s penultimate game, the undermanned Bs beat the Sens 3-1 behind the strong Bruins debut of goalie Anton Khudobin, who saved 44 of 45 shots and will serve as Tim Thomas’ back-up for at least the first few playoff games.
Led by goals by Benoit Pouliot, Greg Zanon, and Milan Lucic, the Bs continued their fine-tuning before they open up the playoffs at home Thursday night. They finish the season tomorrow afternoon against the Buffalo Sabres, who were eliminated from the playoffs when Philly beat them last night. Let’s hope they don’t try to get some belated revenge for Milan Lucic burying Ryan Miller earlier this season—a hit that may have just thrown the Sabres’ season off course enough to keep them out of the postseason.
Regardless, the playoffs can’t start soon enough.
A few more buds for your Easter bowl…
*The Bs dodged a serious bullet when it was revealed that Johnny Boychuk suffered just a mild knee strain during Tuesday’s collision with Pittsburgh’s Aaron Asham. The tough-as-nails D-man had to helped off the ice and things didn’t look so good. But it appears as though he’ll be ready for action when the playoffs commence. However, the Bs are certainly going to keep an eye on Adam McQuaid, who was kept out of most of the game last night after feeling out of sorts. McQuaid suffered a nasty shiner after being buried into the glass last week when he turned just before Jason Chimera buried him. Though the Bs said he didn’t have a concussion, last night’s removal from play is certainly an eyebrow-raiser.
*Torey Krug, who has essentially replaced departed defenseman Steve Kampfer as the team’s undersized, smooth-skating depth D, earned his first NHL point last night when he assisted on Milan Lucic’s 26th goal of the season. Because he signed after the trade deadline, Krug is not eligible for post-season play. But the Bs took advantage of the relatively relaxed time in the schedule (thanks to clinching the #2 seed) to allow Krug his first taste of NHL life. And the kid has looked pretty good considering he was playing in college a couple weeks ago.
*Greg Zanon got his first goal as a Bruins last night while blocking 10 shots. The defensive-minded Zanon sent in a shot that Ben Bishop waved at but couldn’t glove, giving Zanon the eventual GWG. The deadline acquisition is most likely one of Claude’s top playoff 6 D-men when the postseason kicks off Thursday.
*Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, and Patrice Bergeron stayed back in Boston to rest up. Wise move by the Bs. Expect a couple more guys to get some blow for tomorrow’s game as well.
*Firmly entrenched in the #2 seed, the Bs will host either Ottawa or Washington. If the Bs pulled a ‘Belichick vs. Miami in Game 16’ last night, they would have ensured that the Sens would be the first round opponent. But Khudobin wasn’t having it.
*Speaking of Khudobin, the goalie has a one-way contract next year that will pay him $875,000 whether he’s plying his trade in Providence or Boston. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bs extend him before he becomes a UFA after next season. But none of that will be determined until this season and summer plays itself out.
*Tyler Seguin leads the Bs with 27-38—65 totals in just his second year as a pro. If he plays tomorrow, he’ll have missed only one game all year—the infamous somnambulant Manitoba adventure. He and his riding partner Brad Marchand, who also has 27 goals, no doubt have a friendly competition about who will lead the team in goals. But don’t count out Lucic, who could pass them with a two-goal game.
*What’s that old saying? If you ain’t cheatin’, then you ain’t trying. By that standard Ryan Clowe brought trying to a new level last night when, in one of the ballsiest moves I’ve ever seen, he played the puck…from his bench. Incredibly, none of the four officials saw this blatant rule-breaking so he or the Sharks were never penalized and he won’t face league action either. Here it is: