BOSTON — There were several factors working against Anton Khudobin on Tuesday night when the Boston Bruins had their streak of getting at least a point in 18 straight games come to an end.

Khudobin was burdened with extending a streak that was interrupted by the All-Star break. The Bruins hadn’t lost a regulation game since falling to the Washington Capitals on Dec. 14.

Khudobin hadn’t played in a game since beating the Islanders on Jan. 18. He was going up against the Anaheim Ducks, a Pacific Division opponent that is 9-0-1 against the Bruins in the last 10 meetings. Khudobin served as a backup goalie for the Ducks’ organization before rejoining the Bruins on July 1, 2016.

“He was like the rest of our team in the first period, not very good, and I can’t sugarcoat it,” Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy said after his team’s 3-1 loss at the Garden. “We got going and we were the much better team in the last 40 (minutes) but we were not good early and he was certainly included in that mix.

“Maybe the break had something to do with it (but) it didn’t seem to affect them as much.”

Khudobin (24 saves) gave up two first-period goals and the Ducks had the size and physicality to make them hold up. Adam Henrique scored the clincher into an empty net in the game’s final seconds.


The Ducks went up 1-0 on a freak goal that Khudobin should never have allowed. Cam Fowler burst through the right circle and lofted a backhander that found Khudobin’s glove. But Khudobin failed to hold onto the puck and it landed in a congested area in front of the crease.

As Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was falling backward toward Khudobin, Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg brushed the puck over the goal line for his 12th of the season.

“It hit my glove,” Khudobin said. “It was kind of like a parachute and it was coming to me and it hit the glove but I didn’t feel it in the glove and I started searching for it.

“It hit something in front and went in. It hit somebody there so I can’t tell you much because I lost it and I was searching and as soon as I saw the puck it was behind me.”

Bruins defenseman Torey Krug was in the penalty box for slashing when the Ducks’ power play produced a 2-0 lead at 13:59 of the first. Fowler made a sweeping save at the blue line to keep the puck in the Bruins’ zone and it landed on Rickard Rakell’s blade.

Rakell made a quick feed to Henrique, who wristed it past Khudobin inside the far post. The Ducks put 15 shots on Khudobin in the first period.


“The first goal, he would be the first one to tell you he kind of whiffed on it,” said Cassidy. “The other one was a good shot.

“I think he could have got out but there was a guy in his face.”

n The trade deadline is Feb. 26 and, whether the Bruins go shopping or not, they are certainly potential buyers.

“That’s up to him to decide, what’s available, what’s not,” Cassidy said of GM Don Sweeney. “There are always areas for improvement. I’m happy with our club. I love our guys togetherness in the room. I love that they pull for one anther. We’ve won some games with guys in and out of the lineup.

“We’ll probably get a better test going forward, when we get on the road, the degree of difficult will go up . . . and we can better assess that. So, long and short, I love our team, love the way we compete, but we can always get better.”

PREDATORS: Mike Fisher insists he never thought of returning to the NHL and that watching players come out of retirement always bugged him.


Fisher can add his name to that list.

He and the Nashville Predators announced that the veteran center is coming out of retirement for his 18th NHL season as they try to win the Stanley Cup.

“I believe this team is built to win and has a very good chance, so that is part of the reason why I want to come back and compete and be a part of it,” Fisher said. “But we didn’t win last year, and it was the best time in my career and we didn’t win. So I believe that this year can be our year, and that’s why I want to be a part of and have some fun.”

Fisher started skating Wednesday and will spend the next few weeks working himself into shape to rejoin the team. Fisher has not signed a contract yet, and GM David Poile said they will sign Fisher officially at some point before the Feb. 26 trade deadline for the stretch run in what he called one of his better moves.

Poile believes Fisher has some unfinished business and wants to help the Predators win two more games than they did last year when they lost the Stanley Cup Final in six games to Pittsburgh. The current leadership with defenseman Roman Josi as captain will not change.

DEVILS: Forward Taylor Hall was fined $5,000 for a boarding penalty against Sabres forward Kyle Okposo.


GOLDEN KNIGHTS: The Vegas Golden Knights’ unpredictable success has put them in an unexpected spot.

After already matching the most victories by an expansion franchise in NHL history, the Golden Knights are closer to winning the Presidents’ Trophy as the team with the most points than they are to missing the playoffs. Going into the season, forwards James Neal, Jonathan Marchessault and David Perron all looked like potential trade bait in the final year of their contracts.

Now they are among the leading scorers for a team in first place.

Marchessault has already been re-signed to a $30 million, six-year contract, Neal was an All-Star and there are no signs that GM George McPhee will do any kind of the selling off at the deadline that most expected.

“The plan was simple: If we’re in the hunt or a playoff spot, we want to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot,” McPhee said by phone last week. “And if we’re not, we’ll do what teams do when they’re not in the hunt.”

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