|03.22.11 at 10:49 pm ET|
Tim Thomas entered Tuesday night in the midst of his worst stretch of the season. He hadn’t won a game in nearly three weeks, going 0-2-2 in his last four starts. It marked the first time all season he had gone four games without a win and the first time all season he had given up three or more goals in four straight.
Tuesday night, Thomas returned to form in the Bruins’ 4-1 win over the Devils. He stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced to earn his 30th win of the season.
‘I think it was mutual for both, the team and Timmy,’ Bruins coach Claude Julien said of getting back in the win column. ‘I don’t think we have to worry about him. He’s been a good goaltender for us this year, so it certainly wasn’t a concern on our part more than our team play. And our team play was much better.’
Thomas was especially strong in the early going, as the Devils registered 12 of the game’s first 13 shots. New Jersey did manage to score during that span, but it came on a power-play one-timer by Ilya Kovalchuk that Thomas didn’t have much of a chance to stop.
‘I thought we were a little fragile there with what’s been happening,’ Julien said. ‘But we were able to resist and obviously Tim made some big saves early on just to keep us in there.’
Thomas said the key to turning around his recent lack of success was that his defensemen did a better job of allowing him to see the puck.
‘They had a few shots, they had a few good chances,’ Thomas said. ‘But they were also letting me see the puck a little bit more than we had in the last few games. ‘¦ I think that’s definitely a right step forward. We need to build off it and make sure we continue on. And we need to do the same things that gave us success tonight.’
Defenseman Tomas Kaberle said getting out of Thomas’ way is something the team has been focusing on in practice.
‘You want him to see the shot,’ Kaberle said. ‘You don’t want to tip the puck or something. You just want to box out in front of the net and hopefully he’ll make the big saves. Especially on the outside, he’s going to make the save every time. We talked about it before the game and in between the periods. He’s been a key to success for us this season and hopefully we keep it that way.’
After the slow start, Boston was able to take control of the game and relieve Thomas of some of the pressure. Following the early 12-1 shot deficit, the Bruins outshot the Devils 29-19 the rest of the way. They also drew five straight penalties at one point and were able to net four unanswered goals.
‘I think by the end of the first, or last half of the first period, we started to get our legs moving and that was the difference,’ Thomas said. ‘I think that’s what led to them taking the penalties in the second period, because we were moving our feet and that leads to penalties, drawn penalties. We were able to continue that throughout the game.’
|03.22.11 at 9:22 pm ET|
The Bruins took a step toward ending the funk they have found themselves in of late, defeating the Devils, 4-1, at TD Garden Tuesday night.
Shawn Thornton, Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi provided the goals for the B’s,with Chara’s serving as Boston’s first 5-on-4 goal since Feb. 18. The Bruins went 1-for-5 on the power play, with four Devils penalties coming in the second period.
Lucic’s third-period goal was his 30th of the season, and he gives the B’s their first 30-goal scorer since Phil Kessel in the 2008-09 season. Both Lucic and Chara had two-point performances.
Brad Marchand made his return to the Bruins’ lineup after serving a two-game suspension for an elbow on Columbus forward R.J. Umberger last week. Marchand saw time on both lines he has frequented this season, skating with both the Merlot Line and the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.
The B’s will face Montreal next, as the Canadiens will be at the Garden Thursday night in the first meeting between the two teams since an ugly 4-1 Bruins loss on March 8.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– One big injury scare was avoided. David Krejci left the ice early in the third period after getting hit in the lower body with a shot, and after a few minutes on the bench was able to return to the ice. With everybody so concerned with the team’s struggles, it would be hard to imagine them suffering an injury to a player like Krejci. After all, it hurt them badly enough last postseason.
– Thornton’s season-worst goal-less streak is over at 19 games, and it’s funny to think that 19 games would be a long time for a guy who went 69 straight games without a goal a season ago. With the victory, the B’s are now 7-1-0 in games in which the B’s enforcer has scored. The one game that they did lose featured perhaps Thornton’s most clutch tally of the season, as he tied the score at three after the team trailed the Capitals, 3-0, on Nov. 5 (the Capitals would end up taking the game, 5-3).
– Yes, the power play finally scored, but even without the goals, being given four power plays in a period is an easy way to swing momentum. The B’s were suffocated by having to spend too much time on the kill back on March 10 against the Sabres, but they were able to see the other side of it Tuesday.
– The win was Thomas’ first in five games, as he came in 0-2-2 in his previous four starts. That stretch marked the first time Thomas had gone four starts without a win all season and the first time he had given up three or more goals in four straight starts. Tuesday night, Thomas appeared to return to form, saving 30 of the 31 shots he faced. He was especially sharp early when the Devils registered 12 of the game’s first 13 shots.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– While the number of penalties swung in favor of the Bruins, Gregory Campbell heading to the bin at 8:51 of the third period while holding onto a one-goal lead can’t have Claude Julien thrilled. Campbell brings a ton to this Bruins team, but this isn’t the first time he’s taken a third-period penalty in a close game.
– How about opening the game by being outshot, 12-1? Not what you’re looking for, but the Bruins were able to make their third shot of the game count thanks to Thornton’s tally, and they really made their statement in the second period. After being outshot, 16-6 in the first period, the B’s had a 17-8 advantage in the second period thanks to the time they saw on the power play.
– The power play isn’t the only area that has struggled recently. After allowing Kovalchuk’s first-period goal, the B’s have allowed seven power play goals over the last seven games.
|03.22.11 at 8:35 pm ET|
The Bruins were plenty to work with in the second period, and they made good on one of the four penalties the Devils took to give them a 2-1 lead entering the third period.
After drawing a Nick Palmieri tripping penalty at 8:08, Zdeno Chara gave the B’s the lead at 8:17 off a nice pass from Milan Lucic. It was the B’s first goal on 5-on-4 play since Feb. 18. The B’s are currently 1-for-3 on the man advantage for the night.
After trailing the Devils in shots on goal by a 12-1 margin at one point in the first period, the B’s battled back in that department and are now being outshot, 24-23. Of course, being on the power play for almost half a period will help to improve those numbers.
|03.22.11 at 7:43 pm ET|
The once ironically compared players both came up big for their teams in the first period, and after 20 minutes, the Bruins and Devils are tied at one goal apiece.
The Devils opened the game’s scoring on the power play, as Mattias Tedenby hit a wide open Kovalchuk from behind the net and the high-priced winger beat Thomas for his
The Bruins were outshot 16-6 in the period, but they made their third one count. A Dennis Seidenberg wrister from the point was tipped past Martin Brodeur by Shawn Thornton to get the B’s on the board 15:39. It ended the longest goal-scoring drought of the season, one that began after his Feb. 3 tally and lasted 19 games.
|03.22.11 at 6:44 pm ET|
As we suspected this morning, Brad Marchand is indeed back on the Merlot Line upon his return from a two-game suspension. Michael Ryder is sticking on Patrice Bergeron’s line, while Daniel Paille, Steven Kampfer, and Shane Hnidy are the scratches. Here’s how the lines looked in warmups:
Michael Ryder – Patrice Bergeron – Mark Recchi
Brad Marchand – Gregory Campbell – Thornton
|03.22.11 at 12:48 pm ET|
Remember back in the day when fans had to break their backs reading the standings to figure out who their team would play in the playoffs? Well, those days are long gone.
Greg Wyshynski over at Yahoo! Sports is a must-read for national stuff, and his blog now has a feature to see what playoff matchups would look like on any given day. Check it out here.
|03.22.11 at 12:30 pm ET|
With Shane Hnidy coming off LTIR Tuesday, Bruins coach Claude Julien seemed to reiterate Sunday’s comments that he is by no means coming in and taking anyone’s job. He said after Tuesday’s practice that Hnidy can’t go down to Providence, so that he’ll remain with Boston as a depth guy who could occasionally see playing time.
“I don’t know what upper management has in mind here. I don’t think he can go to Providence at this stage of the season, after the trade deadline,” Julien. “So this is something that I don’t think is in the options. But he’s come around, and I think we’ll see him at some point in our lineup. We brought him here to give us some depth, and if we’re going to use him as a depth player, at some point from here to the end he’s going to see some action.”
With that being said, Julien noted that he doesn’t feel Hnidy, who hasn’t played all season due to a shoulder injury suffered in training camp with the Coyotes, is a liability.
“Just because he’s in our lineup doesn’t mean we can’t win our hockey game either. It’s just a matter of him not having played this year,” Julien said. “There’s going to be some small adjustments with him, but we can manage that, put him in some situations where he can get on the ice and help us more than hurt us.”
Given that all the other defensemen are healthy, the B’s have eight blueliners to choose from.