Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) and left wing Brad Marchand (63) celebrate with goalie Anton Khudobin after he blocked a shot by Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner to win the game, 2-1, in a shootout during an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Khudobin delivered an encouraging performance for the Bruins


Anton Khudobin gave the Boston Bruins a much-needed win last night.

He also gave Tuukka Rask a much-welcomed night off.

The Bruins beat the Hurricanes, 2-1, in a shootout at TD Garden. Khudobin made 29 saves, plus two more in the shootout, including the game-decider on Jeff Skinner.

It was an encouraging performance by Khudobin, who returned to the Bruins net for the second time since a conditioning stint in the AHL. It was the first time this season that a Boston goalie other than Rask was credited with a win.

“Very good,” head coach Claude Julien said of Khudobin’s play. “He deserves a lot of accolades tonight, for the way he played, the way he responded after being out such a long time. I think the fact that he went to Providence and played some games there really helped him get back on track. Tonight, he showed that he was ready to play.”

Julien added, “No doubt, there’s a lot of confidence that grew in that dressing room by watching his play and knowing that we’ve got two goaltenders that can play extremely well for us.”

The Bruins did not feel they had good enough backup goaltending the past two seasons, both of which ended outside the playoff picture. And so they bid adieu to Niklas Svedberg and Jonas Gustavsson, bringing Khudobin back into the fold on a two-year contract.

Granted, one win isn’t enough to conclude that Khudobin will be fine. He’s now 1-3-0 with a .902 save percentage, and those numbers could still be much better.

But he’ll be back in there soon enough. The Bruins have 15 more games in December, and Rask isn’t going to play them all.

Mason plays like last season, carries Flyers past Bruins


After riding great goaltending to a playoff spot last season, most of the Philadelphia Flyers’ best 2016-17 moments have come despite Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth.

Mason turned back the clock about a year against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. It’s one of those performances that might prompt optimistic Flyers fans to wonder if Mason will turn things around going forward.

In a way, his enthusiastic celebration after a 3-2 shootout win seemed a little over-the-top, yet can you really blame him?

For one thing, it’s been a rough ride for Mason, who came into Tuesday with an ugly .892 save percentage and 5-8-3 record. He deserves an enormous share of the credit for this win as the Bruins rattled off a gaudy 47-21 shots on goal advantage.

Mason and Tuukka Rask (19 of 21 saves) were tested often in an exciting shootout after the Bruins stormed back from a 2-0 deficit to send this game beyond regulation.

With two straight wins and home games in four of their next six, this is an opportunity for Mason and the Flyers to build up confidence and standings points. They probably can’t count on Mason to do this every night, yet it was a nice thing to see nonetheless.

Bruins announce John-Michael Liles out indefinitely with concussion

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 01:  John-Michael Liles #26 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Calgary Flames at TD Garden on March 1, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins will be without John-Michael Liles for an extended period of time after the defenseman was diagnosed with a concussion.

The team announced the news on Tuesday evening just before their game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Liles was injured in Boston’s win over the Tampa Bay Lighting on Sunday when he tripped over the stick of goaltender Ben Bishop and fell head first into the boards. He did not return to the game.

This is the play.

Concussions are never a good thing, but what makes it especially concerning for Liles is he has a history of them throughout his career. He missed time during the 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons due to concussions.

Acquired by the Bruins at the trade deadline a year ago, Liles re-signed with the team over the summer on a one-year, $2 million contract.

He has appeared in 22 games this season mostly playing on the Bruins’ third defensive pairing alongside Colin Miller. He has five assists on the season while averaging just a little more than 16 minutes of ice-time per game.

The Bruins are also without defenseman Zdeno Chara on Tuesday night in Philadelphia. He has not played since Nov. 22 against the St. Louis Blues. With Chara and Liles sidelined it leaves an already thin Bruins defense even more shorthanded.

WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 25: Colin Miller #48 of the Boston Bruins and R.J. Umberger #20 of the Philadelphia Flyers in action during the second period at Wells Fargo Center on January 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

It’s been a while since the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers butted heads in the playoffs – Simon Gagne wore both teams’ sweaters since then – but it’s possible that these squads might duke it out for a spot this season.

As it stands right now, both the Bruins and Flyers are outside of the East’s top eight, but not by much.

That really sweetens the deal for hockey fans on Tuesday: two teams with history face off, yet they also have plenty to fight for in the present. They also boast the likes of Claude Giroux and Patrice Bergeron on each side.

This kicks off what should be a really fun doubleheader on NBCSN tonight. You can watch online or via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.

NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Bruins vs. Flyers, Maple Leafs vs. Oilers

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 21: Auston Matthews #34 of Team North America celebrates his first period power play goal with Connor McDavid #97 against Team Sweden during the World Cup of Hockey tournament at the Air Canada Centre on September 21, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

The NHL on NBCSN is back with two great games tonight. It all gets going at 7:30 p.m. ET when the Boston Bruins visit the Philadelphia Flyers. In the late game, it’s an all-Canadian matchup featuring Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers against Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Coverage of that one gets going immediately after the Boston-Philly game. 

To watch the Bruins and Flyers online, click here

After dropping back-to-back games to the Lightning and Rangers, the Flyers were able to get back to their winning ways by beating Calgary on Sunday.

The feel-good story of that game was Anthony Stolarz picking up his first career win in his first career game.

It’s still early in the year, but Philly needs to start banking points more frequently if they want to make a push for a playoff spot this spring.

They’ve been decimated with injuries and that’s affected their ability to be consistent, but they need to be better.

“We’ve got to stop with this win one, lose one type of thing,” goalie Steve Mason said, per the Courier-Post. “It’s so important to put together streaks of winning. We’ve got to stop talking about it and start going it. It’s as simple as that. Points, especially at this point of the season, are extremely valuable. We’ve got to start getting as many as possible.”

On Sunday, the Bruins managed to snap their three-game losing streak by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was their first win since captain Zdeno Chara exited the lineup three games ago with a lower-body injury.

With Chara out, again, against the Bolts, it was Torey Krug who stepped up for Boston. Krug, who has been struggling this season, picked up a pair of assists, a plus-2 rating and even dropped the gloves with Nikita Kucherov.

Unfortunately for the Bruins, they lost another defenseman, John-Michael Liles, in that game and he’s expected to be out for a while.

“Next man up. We just have to figure it out,” defenseman Kevan Miller said after Sunday’s game, per the Boston Herald. “There’s nothing you can do at that point. You just have to go out there and handle it the best you can. And I think we did a pretty good job.”

Finally, to watch the Oilers-Maple Leafs game online, click here

This should be a good one. Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid have played against each other at the World Junior Hockey Championship, they’ve played together for Team North America at the World Cup, and now, they’ll go head-to-head at the NHL level for the second time.

Toronto won the first meeting 3-2 in OT on Nov. 1. Interestingly enough, Matthews and McDavid both failed to register points in that game (Nazem Kadri scored twice, including the game-winner).

The Leafs couldn’t be happier with their selection of Matthews. Even though he went through a prolonged scoring slump, the team sees him as a complete player with incredible upside.

“We’re extremely pleased,” GM Lou Lamoriello told the National Post. “He’s had opportunities. You go through stages. I don’t like comparing people to other people, but there are a lot of exceptional players who go through it. I’ve had 500-goal scorers who have gone through it. But in Auston’s case, he’s been playing excellent defensively and had excellent progressive success on the systematic part of the game and on face-offs. Remember, he’s up against the best and had the best playing against him.”

Although the Leafs are off to a modest 9-8-4 start, they have to be thrilled with the contributions they’ve been receiving from rookies like Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.

Marner is tied for the team lead in points with 18, Matthews is in a three-way tie for the team lead in goals with 9 and Nylander has quietly put up 15 points in 20 games.

On the other side, the Oilers have stunned many by being in the top spot of the Pacific Division at this point of the season.

There’s no denying that McDavid is the biggest reason for that. He’s already picked up 10 goals and 29 points in 23 games and the team’s next best scorer is Jordan Eberle, and he has 17 points.

The Oilers center does a lot of things well, but when you watch him play, it’s incredibly obvious that he can do special things at a speed that most players can only dream of.

“It’s for sure his speed,” Jordan Eberle said of McDavid’s greatest asset, per Sportsnet. “It is unmatched in the league. I don’t know how he does it — they should figure it out and teach kids how to do it. But he’s a rush player. He creates everything off the rush with his speed, and as a defenseman you can’t gap up.”

We should be in for a real treat tonight!