Bruins Notes: Anton Khudobin Struggles; Charlie McAvoy Continues To Put Up Points

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Anton Khudobin has been one of the Boston Bruins’ best players this season, but the backup goalie wasn’t able to bail out his team Monday night in a 5-3 road loss to the Nashville Predators.

The Russian netminder entered Monday with the second-best save percentage (.922) in the NHL, the fourth-best goals against average (2.22) and zero losses in regulation (7-0-2 record). But he wasn’t able to make enough saves against a deep Preds lineup as Nashville led 2-0 after the first period and grew the lead to 4-0 four minutes into the second frame.

Kevin Fiala’s goal that made it 4-0 Nashville was the last shot Khudobin faced. He exited with just 10 saves on 14 shots.

The four goals are the second-most Khudobin has given up in a single game this season. After Khudobin allowed a season-high five goals in an overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 21, he surrendered just 11 total goals in his next six games going into Monday.

Khudobin’s stellar play has been a key component to the Bruins’ recent run of six wins in the last eight games. They’ve jumped up a few spots in the standings during that span, too.

For the B’s to keep climbing, they will need consistency from the backup goalie position, and despite Monday’s lackluster performance, Khudobin should be able to provide that based on his body of work through 10 starts.

Here are some other notes from Bruins-Predators.

— Charlie McAvoy scored Boston’s first goal, a power-play tally in the second period, giving him two goals and an assist in the two-game season series against the Predators. He also has tallied five points (two goals, three assists) in the last six games, including a three-game point streak. McAvoy’s 15 points in 25 games put him third among all rookie defenseman in scoring.

— The Bruins entered Monday with a first-period goal in seven straight games, and they outscored opponents 11-2 in the opening stanza during that span. It was the Predators who dominated the first 20 minutes as they took a 2-0 lead into the intermission. Nashville improved to 12-2-2 when scoring first this season.

— Brad Marchand assisted on David Pastrnak’s goal for his 20th point of the season. He and Pastrnak are the only Bruins players to reach that mark in 2017-18 (Pastrnak leads the B’s with 25 points). Marchand has posted five points (one goal, four assists) in three games since returning to the lineup from injury Nov. 29 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

— David Backes’ assist on Zdeno Chara’s third-period goal was the veteran forward’s 500th career point.

— Daniel Vladar, a Bruins goalie drafted in the third round in 2015, made 50 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Orlando Solar Bears on Sunday. Vladar is playing for the Atlanta Gladiators, who are the Bruins’ ECHL affiliate.

— Predators forward Craig Smith scored two goals in the first period, giving him six goals in 11 career games versus the B’s.

— Could Seattle be the next place for NHL expansion? If hockey can work in Las Vegas, it should be able to find success in the Pacific Northwest as well.

Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images

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