Wow, what a game. A huge win for the Bruins. No one was expecting them to go into the United Center and pull off a huge upset against the Hawks like that. The B’s are now just one win away from clinching the playoffs for the first time in 3 years. The story of this game was Anton Khudobin. Dobby came up HUGE for the Bruins with 41 saves. After an abysmal start to the season, and getting waived in January, Dobby has been money for the Bruins. He’s gone 5-0 in his last 5 starts. Today was his best game of the year. 41 saves against guys like Kane, Toews, and Panarin is no joke. If Khudobin keeps this up he might even see some time in the postseason.
The Bruins struck first in this one on a goal from Ryan Spooner. Spooner tipped Zdeno Charas shot up into the corner of the net for his 12th of the season. The Bruins got up 1-0 and never relinquished the lead. They struck again soon after, when Brad Marchand stole a puck from Panarin, carried it into the zone. Marchand spun around and fed the puck to a wide open Patrice Bergeron. Bergy ripped an absolute laser into the top corner of the net to extend the lead to 2. The Bruins would take that 2-0 lead into the locker room.
Chicago very nearly cut into the lead multiple times but Khudobin made some really impressive desperation saves. Late in the 2nd period Chicago struck back with an Artemi Panarin goal. Richard Panik got one of the weirdest assists you’ll ever see on the goal. He slid into the Bruins net and lay there looking injured. Khudobin was way out of position and Panarin shot the puck into the open net, only for it to bounce back out off of Panik. Panarin pounced on the rebound and this time got it past Panik and into the net. 2-1 Chicago. The Bruins headed into the locker room with a 1 goal lead.
The Bruins got insurance 9:15 into the 3rd. Kevan Miller picked off a Blackhawks pass in the middle of the ice and skated down into the zone, and weaved away from Niklas Hjlamarsson. Miller then ripped a shot into the far corner of the net. It was a goal that was reminiscent of the great Bobby Orr. The Bruins 2 goal lead would not last long. 35 seconds after Miller’s goal, Jordin Tootoo scored his second goal of the season, to put the pressure back on the Bruins. The Bruins would not crack. The Defense and Khudobin held strong and kept the one goal lead until the clock hit 0:00.
This was a huge win for the Bruins. No one was expecting them to come away with 4 points on this back to back. I would’ve been happy with 2 points. 4 points now puts the Bruins in 2nd place in the Atlantic, leapfrogging Toronto and Ottawa. The Bruins now have a chance to clinch a playoff berth in the next game. The Bruins need a regulation win over Tampa Bay. If they get 2 more points and don’t give up a loser point to Tampa, we’ve got ourselves playoff hockey back in Boston.
Just a week ago it looked like the Bruins season was circling the drain. The Bruins had lost 4 in a row. It seemed like groundhog day. We have seen that story play out twice in the last 2 seasons. The Bruins were firmly in the playoffs all year, only to crash and burn like a giant black and gold Hindenberg down the final stretch. But this Bruins team is different. This team responded and came to play with a vengeance and a purpose. Instead of laying over and dying like a wounded animal, this team has rattled off 5 straight victories. The Bruins have played some really great hockey over the last 5 games, and are now knocking on the door to the big dance.
There are 3 games left on the Bruins schedule. They play 3 games at home against Tampa Bay, Ottawa, and Washington in that order. If the Bruins can beat Tampa they’ll be in the playoffs. If they can win the next 2 against Ottawa and Washington they’ll have won 8 straight going into the playoffs. Talk about getting hot at the right time. The Bruins currently have a 94% chance to make the playoffs. This team has shown they have guts. They respond when things are looking bad. They scratch and claw for every win, and they play with heart. These are not the Bruins of the last two seasons, these Bruins are different. Get your black and gold feety pajamas on everybody. The Boston Bruins are one win away from clinching the playoffs. I can’t believe I actually just typed that. Its a great time to be a Bruins fan.