|11.15.10 at 11:40 pm ET|
Tim Thomas was happy to admit that his fourth shutout of the season was a collective effort. Thanks to the blocked shots of Dennis Seidenberg and captain Zdeno Chara effectively rubbing out Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrick Elias, Thomas faced just 28 shots and stopped them all in a 3-0 win over the Devils Monday night at TD Garden.
But that wasn’t the biggest story. The Bruins managed to put three pucks behind future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, one more than they scored during an unlikely three-game home ice losing skid.
“There was definitely a little urgency but it was a controlled urgency,” Thomas said. “It wasn’t a panicked urgency. It was more like, ‘Hey, it’s time to start righting the ship and tonight’s a good place to start.’”
The Bruins were just 2-4-1 on home ice this season.
“I personally approached it as a must-win and I think the team did too,” Thomas said. “We need to get back on track; we need to show some urgency. We faced a team that’s been playing better but has struggled this year, and we needed to come out with the win so that we could start building and getting back to the game that we were playing when we were having success.”
Thomas did face pressure at times, like late in the second period when the Devils fired the last six shots of the period.
“Yeah, that and the first couple minutes of the game there,” Thomas said. “Elias was very, very patient. You know, there was some times where we really controlled the play for long periods of time and there were other times where they made a push and I just had to be on my toes and the team had to be on their toes for the rebounds.”
The way it played out, Thomas weathered the storm at the start, and had pretty much clear sailing the rest of the way.
“I don’t know, well, you could look at it either way. Yeah, it could be tough, or looking back, it actually could help get me into the game,” Thomas said. “And it happened so quick that I didn’t have time to think about it. I didn’t have time to think, ‘Is this really happening in the first minute of the game?’ It was just like, ‘I got to find some way to stop this thing.’
“It’s a similar feeling to how I felt against Washington, probably early this year was the closest that I kind of felt like that. I just felt like they weren’t going to find a way to score.”
As the minutes wound down, he could sense he was closing in on his 21st career shutout, just 91 shy of his counterpart Monday night.
“The last several minutes you start to put some emphasis because you don’t want to work that hard and not get it,” Thomas said. “I used to not care about shutouts and I still don’t for the most part, but that was 21 and 25 is a milestone that few people reach in the NHL.”
|11.15.10 at 10:25 pm ET|
Claude Julien said Monday night that Johnny Boychuk and David Krejci will accompany the Bruins as they travel to New York to face the Rangers on Wednesday night. Krejci, working his way back from a concussion suffered Nov. 6, continues to skate with the team while Boychuk, who suffered a fractured forearm on Oct. 23 against the Rangers, could return to game action.
“Boychuk is day-to-day now,” Julien said. “Depending on how his wrist is or is arm is, there’s always a possibility we could see him in Wednesday’s game.”
Julien expressed uncertainty on the subject of whether Marco Sturm (knee) or Marc Savard (post-concussion syndrome) will travel with the team. Both have been skating as they look to return from their respective injuries.
|11.15.10 at 9:24 pm ET|
Tim Thomas picked up his fourth shutout of the season as the 36-year-old blanked the Devils in front of a sold out crowd at TD Garden on Monday night, leading the Bruins to a 3-0 win. Thomas stopped all 28 of the shots he saw, as he improved to 9-1-0 on the season.
Michael Ryder, Nathan Horton and Blake Wheeler scored for the Bruins in the first, second, and third periods, respectively. Horton leads the team with eight goals, while Ryder picked up his fifth goal and Wheeler scored his third.
The Bruins will travel to New York to face the Rangers on Wednesday in Claude Julien’s 500th game as a coach.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- All three of the Bruins’ scorers had either a bit of intrigue or relief accompany their goals Horton had cooled off a bit at home, so getting on the board at the Garden is huge for the Bruins as they aim to get some offense going in front of the home crowd this year.
Ryder, meanwhile, continues to make it harder for the Bruins to send him to Providence when Marco Sturm and Marc Savard return from long term injury reserve. Ryder has a $4 million cap hit, but he’s third on the team in goals and is on pace to surpass his 18-goal total of a year ago.
Wheeler, who like teammate Mark Stuart donated $5,000 worth of tickets to local military troops, was due for a goal. He both created plays on Saturday night and had them fall apart, getting the wrath of the fans when he knocked one in the Senators’ net hit his glove.
- The woes continue for the $100 million man, Ilya Kovalchuk, and the Devils. The Bruins held the sniper to just two shots on goal, and Kovalchuk finished the night a minus-one. Through 17 games, Kovalchuk has nine goals and is a minus-nine.
- On November 15, Tim Thomas is just one shutout away from tying his career-high of five, a feat he has been accomplish in the last two seasons.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Tyler Seguin has just one point in his last seven games. The Bruins don’t need him to be the star he’s expected to become right away, but with Krejci out there was certainly opportunity for him to showcase his talents and get a little more playing time. He continues to hover in the 12:00-13:00 range as far as ice time goes, and with Ryder no longer on his line, he may have a harder time keeping the point total up. Patience is the key, and this scribe isn’t ready to go back on his 23-goal prediction for Seguin in his rookie year.
- Ryder’s seen a bit of a spike in penalty minutes these last couple of games. He entered the Senators game on Saturday with just two on the season and, after going off for a dive on Saturday, was called for tripping at 1:35 of the third. He did, of course draw a Mattias Tedenby double-minor in the second period, negating the four minutes he’s compiled over the last two games.
|11.15.10 at 8:46 pm ET|
Apologies for some technical difficulties making this a couple of minutes late…
The Bruins added to their lead in the second period, and it sure was a welcomed sight.
The Bruins had just two goals over their previous three home games at the Garden, and Nathan Horton, the team’s top scorer, had zero points in his last four home games. That changed when he beat Martin Brodeur with a wrister 43 seconds into the second period. Horton has just one shot on goal in the game, but he’s made it count.
Through two periods, Tim Thomas has saved all 14 shots he’s seen. The Bruins are outshooting the Devils, 17-14.
|11.15.10 at 7:41 pm ET|
The Bruins are up 1-0 after a period at the Garden thanks to a powerplay goal from Michael Ryder.
Ryder made it 1-0 with the Bruins on a 5-on-3 when he took a pas from Patrice Bergeron at the bottom of the circle and beat Martin Brodeur. Mark Recchi also picked up an assist on the play, giving him a team-high nine on the season.
While the goal gets the most attention on the scoreboard, it was the play that led to the 5-on-3 that made the period stand out. With Matthew Corrente in the box for hooking, Devils forward Adam Mair got a little too close in trying to knock puck in that Thomas seemed to have control of. Though Mair went off for interference, Thomas got a couple of punches in before Mair made it to the bin.
Thomas has stopped all seven shots he’s faced. The B’s have outshot New Jersey, 10-7.
|11.15.10 at 5:14 pm ET|
Martin Brodeur did not participate in the Devils’ optional morning skate on Monday, but he is expected to get the start in net on Monday night when the Devils take on the Bruins. Tim Thomas was first off the ice in the Bruins’ morning skate, making a Brodeur-Thomas matchup likely. Thomas and the Bruins beat the Devils, 4-1, on Oct. 16 in New Jersey.
WHERE IT’S AT
- The Bruins are 2-4-1 in home games, and 2-3-1 at the Garden. They’ve scored just two goals over their last three home games, a span in which they have gone 0-2-1.
- The Devils are 4-5-0 on the road this season and 2-4-0 in their last six road games.
- Monday night will be Claude Julien’s 499th career game. He’s coached the majority of them (260) for the Bruins.
- In three home starts this season, Thomas has allowed three goals: two on Saturday against the Senators, and one in the home opener. He is 2-1-0 at home, including a shutout vs. the Maple Leafs on Oct. 28.
STORYLINES GOING IN
- Expect a bit of line shuffling for the Bruins. The merlot line/energy line/Shawn-Thornton-has-three-goals line was tinkered with, and the tweaked result is now the third line. Michael Ryder replaces Thornton on the right wing, and the third line now appears to be Gregory Campbell between Brad Marchand and Ryder.
The move also allows Tyler Seguin to resume the role of the fourth line center, though Julien said Monday that he’s not afraid to use him late in games in which the team needs a goal given his natural ability. Here are what the lines could look like:
Lucic – Bergeron – Horton
Caron – Wheeler – Recchi
Marchand – Campbell – Ryder
Paille – Seguin – Thornton
Chara – Ference
Hunwick – Seidenberg
Stuart – McQuaid
The move, at face value at least, also makes things worse on Seguin given that he and Ryder had a very apparent chemistry on the ice, seemingly always connecting on gutsy passes.
- It is Military Appreciation Night here at the Garden. Both Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler have purchased $5,000 in tickets to the game, which will be given to troops. It is Stuart’s second straight year of buying tickets for the troops.
- Until the Bruins prove capable of winning at home, the attention is going to be on their play at the Garden. Nathan Horton, despite playing one of his best games in a Bruins uniform against St. Louis, hasn’t picked up a point in any of the B’s last four games at the Garden.
|11.15.10 at 2:38 pm ET|
Bruins center David Krejci was on the ice skating with his teammates for the second day in a row as the B’s held an optional morning skate on Monday.
For Krejci, it was the hardest workout he’s had since suffering a concussion in overtime on Nov. 6 against the Blues. The day after suffering the concussion, the Bruins announced that they expected to be without Krejci, who had been the first-line center with Marc Savard out, for at least a week. As of Monday morning, he had yet to be cleared for contact, but he was scheduled to see a doctor later in the day.
“I really hope this afternoon I’m going to know a little more [regarding] when I’ll come back,” Krejci said, admitting that he was tired after the workout, but that “it’s really hard to say whether it’s from the concussion or the skating.”
Johnny Boychuk, meanwhile, is also getting closer, as he too was once again on the ice with his teammates. The good news is that the blueliner said the fractured forearm that’s kept him out of the lineup since Oct. 23 “just hasn’t been bothering” him.
Boychuk had the cast he had been wearing removed, and on Monday was sporting what members of the media could only was a stiff removable cast.
“I’m going to have to protect it, but I’m not going to shy away from doing anything I would [normally do], so I’ll just play the way I have been,” Boychuk said.
Boychuk could return to the Bruins’ lineup as soon as next weekend. It will be interesting to see how his return shakes up the defense, given that Adam McQuaid seems to be pushing Matt Hunwick for a spot.
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