Call-up Heinen carries Bruins over Sharks
BOSTON — Danton Heinen clearly does want to be sent back to Providence.
The 22-year-old winger, recalled from the American Hockey League team earlier Thursday, scored his first two NHL goals in his 12th game, and Anton Khudobin stopped 36 shots to lead the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
“You don’t like going up and down,” Heinen said.
His first goal was short-handed.
“It was pretty cool ... it’s something you dream of your whole life, and you kind of just go into shock for a bit there,” he said. “It was awesome.”
Thursday’s production by Heinen came after he had three assists in three games before being sent to the minors earlier this month because of a crowded manpower situation. But he hadn’t scored a goal — and Thursday became the fourth Bruin already this season to score his first in the NHL.
“I feel like I’m an offensive guy,” he said. “I want to contribute and I see everybody scoring their first and you want to get your first as well — I felt like it was never coming, but I’m glad I got it out of the way.”
Heinen came through again at even strength to break a 1-1 tie at 13:27 of the second — both goals coming on rebounds. The second came after Brandon Carlo’s shot from the point went off the boards behind the net.
Khudobin, playing his third straight game for injured Tuukka Rask, wasn’t under siege but came up with some big saves. He allowed only a power-play goal to former Bruins captain Joe Thornton 10:40 into the second period.
He was at his best in a 15-save third period.
“He stole goals from them,” said David Backes, whose rebound was converted on Heinen’s first goal — Backes’ first point of the season in only his third game.
This solid effort came after the Bruins blew a 4-1 lead and lost in overtime at home to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
“We played hard for the whole 60 minutes, I think, and we were battling through the whole game, and maybe a better game in the neutral zone, probably,” Khudobin said.
The Sharks had two late power plays, the second coming with 2:32 left, and with goaltender Martin Jones pulled for most of the power play, Khudobin made five stops during the power play and also artfully pushed his net off its mooring in the final minute — with no one around him.
“Good timing for us. Good timing,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of the convenient dislodgment.
“It looked pretty clear — I didn’t get an explanation why,” San Jose coach Pete DeBoer said. “So I didn’t get an explanation for a lot of things tonight. So it didn’t surprise me.”
The Bruins improved to 4-3-1, 3-0-1 with Khudobin in goal. The Sharks, who failed to score on a 40-second two-man advantage in the second period, fell to 4-5-0, 2-2-0 on their current five-game northeast road trip.
Jones, who came in 4-0-0 with a 1.26 goals-against average since being pulled from the second game of the season, was sharp in the loss, making 31 saves.
“I thought it was a good game,” he said. “I thought we played hard and their goalie played well. Yeah, I mean, it was a good hockey game.”
Thornton’s goal moved him into a tie with Jari Kurri for 20th place on the NHL’s career scoring list with 1,398 points.
He wasn’t much in the mood to talk about the milestone after the loss.
“We were pushing and pushing but we just couldn’t get one past him at the end,” he said. “But the boys fought hard. You know, I liked our game but it didn’t work out for us in the end.”
NOTES: The Sharks were in Boston since Tuesday, practicing at the Bruins’ facility. ... Boston G Tuukka Rask, cleared from NHL concussion protocol, dressed as the backup. Bruins C David Krejci (back) missed his second straight. ... Bruins C Sean Kuraly had three penalties and only 4:26 of ice time. ... San Jose C Joe Thornton, traded away as the Bruins captain in 2005, when asked about Boston, said, “The people here are great sports fans. All that stuff was just media. The people of Boston loved me and I loved them, so that’s all I care about. Once you live in this city, it never leaves your heart.” ... The Sharks end their five-game road trip at Buffalo on Saturday. The Bruins, likely with Rask in net, end their four-game homestand against the sizzling Los Angeles Kings (8-1-1) the same night.