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Bruins vs. Sharks 11/18/17 RECAP: Youth and Defense come up big, B’s win 3-1

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And of course, Anton Khudobin came up big too.

NHL: Boston Bruins at San Jose Sharks John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

First Period:

The Bruins got outshot badly, and early on? it showed.

The Bruins got lucky with a called back goal in the early 1st, but eventually the Bruins would keep allowing chance after chance, and Timo Meier was found un-covered and potted home a shot they couldn’t call back. 1-0 Sharks.

Net Front defense is still a work in progress with that pairing, it seems...

But not long after that, Jake DeBrusk had himself a night.

The Bruins tied it up with Peter Cehlarik springing Jake DeBrusk into the Shark’s zone, who managed to get his way right up in Aaron Dell’s mask before he was pulled away, and Peter Cehlarik’s rebound shot found it’s way into the San Jose net. 1-1 tie.

Great presence of mind to keep with the play even if it looked like some kind of penalty was gonna be called. And a great individual effort by Jake DeBrusk, who would factor directly in what would be the game-winner.

After a pair of ugly penalties killed, Charlie McAvoy sprung Jake DeBrusk on accident to get Boston’s 4th shot on goal...

...that happened to be a goal-for. 2-1 Bruins!

Funny what happens when you get to the net, huh? And for what it’s worth, Charlie did a good job clearing that puck in such a way that it would bounce directly into the path of his teammate. I’m sure he did that on purpose.

And with that, in spite of the heavy shot-advantage, Boston’s were the ones who counted for something, and on to the second we went.

Second Period:

Nothing happened! Which is...kind of great, all things considered.

The Sharks never relinquished their shot lead, but Boston’s net-front defense and blueline play sharpened considerably.

Of course, it helps if your goaltender’s willing to bail you out every now and then. And that he did.

Khudobin had a phenomenal night in net, and he deserves just as much credit as the players in front of him for the performance that followed.

Onto the third!

Third Period:

For most of the game, the Sharks had been trying to force crease and slot-level shots in on rebounds and Boston had been taking advantage of this. The third period wasn’t any different in that regard, but you could tell that San Jose was getting frustrated with the lack of scoring, and just began taking whatever shot felt best to them. As the period began to wind down, however...Kevan Miller got it into his head that he could do what he’s often tried to do: Start a rush on his own.

And start a rush on his own he did. Setting up Danton Heinen for a beautiful tip-in goal. 3-1 Bruins!

Incredible hustle by Kevan Miller, and good on Heinen to be right-place, right-time.

From then on, it was mostly bleeding the clock dry, and bleed it they did, even if Anton Khudobin made it extra interesting by taking a slashing penalty of all things with the Sharks goaltender pulled. The clock died in their throats, and the Bruins walked away with a win!

Game Notes:

  • Your leaders in possession last night were: Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Danton Heinen, Noel Acciari, and Frank Vatrano.
  • It cannot be overstated how important it was that not only did Khudobin come to play, but the net-front defense, which buttoned up and played like the two points meant something (they always do). Net-front defense and goaltender can be thought to go hand and hand with each other, and it was encouraging to see the team finally look like they have that kind of thing locked down, and their goaltender respond by playing confidently and intelligently.
  • Really my only qualm with Khudobin’s performance tonight was that penalty. He hasn’t been immune to the late-period goal-against, so while it made for some exciting drama...it’s not something he should consider repeating.
  • If there’s one overall criticism? That first period was a dogpile, man. The Bruins cannot, and should not, be giving up gigantic stretches of time to the opposing team for what was essentially free shots on goal. Especially not in the coming week, with high-powered offenses like New Jersey’s and Tampa’s on the horizon.
  • Charlie McAvoy had his hiccups, but he had an assist, and made vital stick checks during the storm of sharks zone entries that kept the Bruins from maybe giving up a tying goal late in the first. That’s all I can ask of the kid, really.
  • HUGE night for the young guns. Jake DeBrusk had the Sharks second-guessing themselves throughout the second and third period. He made a lot of well-paid players look like AHLers and that’s a powerful thing going forward.
  • Coincidentally, Jake DeBrusk is slowly climbing the points chart for the Bruins. Good things happen when he finds space!
  • Peter Cehlarik’s goal was a cherry on top of a steadily improving ice-cream sundae. He started a little shaky in his own end, but buttoned up quick in the second and third and looked a lot more comfortable by then.
  • Danton Heinen continues his points streak with a goal tonight. Dude will likely become a regular once players from IR start to filter back into the lineup by just playing intelligent, fast hockey.
  • By the way, All the bruins who scored tonight have more points in fewer games than Matt Beleskey. Might want to have a long think about whether or not he actually plays again in the next few weeks...

Boston’s next game is on Wednesday, vs. the New Jersey Devils, at 7:30PM.

See you then!