Khudobin, Bruins shut down Sabres, 2-0
Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) tries to tip an incoming shot as Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller (30) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, March 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
Buffalo Sabres' right winger Patrick Kaleta (36) battles for the puck while Boston Bruins' defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) and goaltender Anton Khudobin (35), of Kazakhstan, defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, March 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
BUFFALO, N.Y. – David Krejci and Nathan Horton scored goals less than three minutes apart in the third period, and Anton Khudobin stopped 26 shots in leading the Boston Bruins to a 2-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres last night.
Krejci broke open a scoreless game during a scramble in front with 7:06 remaining after Horton was stopped twice from in close by Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller. Krejci then returned the favor by setting up Horton for a tap-in in front with 4:16 left in helping Boston win for only the third time in eight games (3-4-1).
Khubodin earned the second shutout of his career, while the Bruins improved to 2-5 in their last seven road games.
The Bruins (22-8-4) closed to within a point of Northeast Division-leading Montreal in the standings.
The Sabres, meanwhile, continued to head in the other direction. In dropping to 0-2-2 in their past four, Buffalo (13-17-6) fell into 13th place in the Eastern Conference standings after being passed by the Philadelphia Flyers.
Matt Bartkowski set up Krejci’s goal by feeding a perfect pass into the middle to Horton. Horton drove in on net from the left side and got off two shots, which Miller stopped. Krejci then capitalized by slipping in the second rebound behind the fallen goalie.
It was a conservatively played game featuring brief spurts of action between teams playing on consecutive days. Buffalo was coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to Washington, while the Bruins lost 3-1 at Philadelphia.
With the game scoreless, neither team managed a shot on goal through the first 5:18 of the third period, until Buffalo’s Christian Ehrhoff slapped a shot from the top of the left circle, which Khudobin easily stopped.
The Bruins mostly settled for shots from the outside. The Sabres, meanwhile, continued a season-long trend of experiencing difficulty sustaining control of the play in the opposing zone.
Khudobin was both sharp and fortunate in the first period. Three minutes in, the Bruins goalie misplayed the puck behind his own net, and the puck rolled to Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta, who was alone in the lower right circle, and facing an empty net. Khudobin got his stick out to get a piece of the puck.
He then made a solid save eight minutes later, kicking out his pad to stop Tyler Ennis, who cruised across the front of the net and tried to wrap it around the goalie inside the left post.
The Bruins’ best scoring chance through 40 minutes came with 1:15 left in the second when Miller got his right pad out to stop Horton, who was set up in front. Miller was also fortunate in the final minute of the first period when Milan Lucic had the puck roll of his stick while facing an open left side.
Miller finished with 29 saves. He appeared in his 491st career game, matching the Sabres franchise record among goalies set by Dominik Hasek.
∎ The Sabres were minus LW Ville Leino, who is listed day to day with an upper-body injury. Leino scored twice against Washington on Saturday, but did not finish the game.
∎ Of Khudobin’s 10 appearances this season, three have come against Buffalo.
∎ In the two Northeast Division rivals’ previous 266 meetings, the Bruins have the edge in wins, going 121-108-29-8 against the Sabres. Buffalo, however, had a 865-859 edge in goals, making the Sabres one of four teams – Minnesota, Montreal and Toronto – to have outscored Boston.
∎ The Sabres were coming off two shootout losses in which they squandered third-period leads. Buffalo has lost the lead in the third period an NHL-high 10 times this season and gone 4-2-4, according to STATS.