KEVIN PAUL DUPONT
NASHVILLE – Fresh of their 3-0 blanking of the Flyers, the Bruins will work out Sunday at Bridgestone Arena, their confidence pumping iron after winning six of their last seven games and inching back into the hunt for one of eight playoff seeds in the Eastern Conference.
■ The win Saturday at Wells Fargo Center was Tuukka Rask’s first shutout of the season. The Finnish franchise stopper (5-8-0) will yield to backup Anton Khudobin Monday night vs. the Predators, but he went 2-1-0 in his three straight starts, with a 1.67 GAA and .940 save percentage.
■ The Bruins, now 12-8-4, are on pace for a 96-point season, which would make them all but a lock for the postseason. Three weeks ago, with the Black and Gold fighting to get back to .500, some fans were preaching for the club to tank the season.
■ Despite the recent revival tour, the Bruins have been mired in a 2-for-34 (5.9 pct) drought for their power play. Coach Bruce Cassidy said Friday that he isn’t “ready to blow it up”, but he needs to find a fix. The man advantage is essential to playoff success.
■ Don’t be surprised if Brad Marchand, 1-1—2 in Philly, takes the day off skates Sunday. He was rattled by an Ivan Provorov shoulder-to-face smack early in Philly. He bounced back fine, but the Li’l Ball o’Hate has taken more abuse this season than all his seasons combined. A “maintenance” day looks to be in order.
■ Peter Laviolette’s Predators trimmed the Ducks, 3-2, in a shootout Saturday at Bridgestone. The Preds look fit for another trip to the Cup final.
■ Fun stat comparison of the day:
Nashville’s top offensive defenseman, PK Subban, will carry a line of 4-14—18 into Monday’s game. In 26 games, he has averaged .692 points per game and landed an average 2.19 shots on net.
Boston’s top offensive defenseman, Torey Krug, will carry a line of 4-10–14 into Monday’s game. In 20 games, he has averaged .700 points per game and landed an average 2.2 shots per game.
■ The scratches in Philly were Frank Vatrano, Matt Beleskey, and Paul Postma. If there’s a change (beyond injury factor), Postma might take Matt Grzelcyk’s spot on the D corps.
■ Bet you’ve forgotten that the Bruins once traded prospects Mikko Lehtonen and Jeff Penner to Minnesota to acquire Khudobin. The date was Feb. 28, 2011. Lehtonen still plays in Europe, but logged only two NHL games. Penner left hockey a few years ago, and also logged only two NHL games. Originally, the Wild used the 206th pick in the 2004 entry draft to select Khudobin.
■ The country of Kazakhstan, where Khudobin was born, ranks No. 9 in the world in terms of land mass (1.05 million square miles). It’s approximately 1/10th the size of the US, with a population of 18 million (the aggregate of Wisconsin, Maryland and Missouri). A lot of elbow room.
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