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Gameday notes: Bruins face another desperate team in Maple Leafs 03.31.11 at 12:57 pm ET
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Unsurprisingly, Shawn Thornton’s face was a popular topic Thursday morning as the Bruins prepared for the Maple Leafs. The large comma-shaped gash above Thornton’s right eye will keep him out against Toronto, meaning Thornton will sit for the first time after playing the season’s first 76 games.

“It’s just day-to-day,” Claude Julien said after the morning skate. “He took a lot of stitches but not just what you see on the outside, but on the inside as well. So it’s obviously a dangerous area. They certainly want to be cautious about it and we’re going to respect that.”

Thornton skated with a new helmet in the morning skate, saying a “big hole” was cut to make room for the swelling and so the stitches wouldn’t touch the helmet. Another noticeable alteration to the helmet was that it featured a visor.

“I’m not a big fan of it,” Thornton said after the skate. “I’m not used to it. Let’s just say that.”

Thornton touched on his preference to play without a visor. He noted that if he were to get into a fight, he would have to take his helmet off, running the risk of falling on his head.

“I’m aware of the risks of not wearing a visor, but it’s my choice,” he said. I think it’s more of a risk to fall on my head in a fight.”

Here are some other notes:

With Thornton out, Michael Ryder is back in the lineup after being scratched in the last two contests. He will skate on Gregory Campbell’s line with Daniel Paille as he tries to break out of his funk and show he can be an asset in the playoffs.

“You definitely don’t want to be out of the lineup, that’s for sure,” Ryder said. “When you get in there, you don’t want to try and do too much. You just go out there and work hard and try and make sure you help the team instead of hurting them. That’s what I’m going to try to do tonight.

“Things get worse if you [try to do too much]. You’ve just got to go out and play your game. If you play well, it’s up to the coach’s decision after that.”

Julien hopes Ryder can make it an easy decision.

“When Michael is on his game, he’s a real good asset to our hockey team,” Julien said. “He makes things happen out there on the ice and he gets great quality chances. He’s just got to find his game. I think it’s not us being down on him, it’s us wanting more out of him and we hope that we can find that moving forward because he can be a valuable player for us in the playoffs. And he’s proven that in the past.”

Ryder has just one goal over his last 19 games.

- Steven Kampfer is back in the lineup for the first time since costing the B’s the game March 17 in Nashville. Johnny Boychuk is sitting in his place, as Julien is aiming to give his players rest while also working the scratches into the lineup. Shane Hnidy could play Saturday.

- Julien likes that the B’s have played against some desperate teams of late. That continues with the Leafs, who are seven points out of a playoff spot.

“I think it’s helped us all. We talked about the consistency of our game, and when you play teams that are obviously either battling to get in or battling to stay in or battling for position, this time of year you’re facing a good team every night.

“It’s been good for Tim [Thomas] obviously, but it’s been good for our whole team. Because that’s the one thing we’ve struggled with a little bit as the season went on, was consistency in our play. We went stretches where we played well and then we kind of flatten out there for a while and then picked it up again. So it’s been good all around for our hockey club, and I think that’s been great to play the teams that we’ve played in the last little while.”

Shawn Thornton out for Bruins, Michael Ryder and Steven Kampfer make return to lineup 03.31.11 at 12:11 pm ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, who recieved around 40 stitches for a gash above his right eye after being cut by a skate in Tuesday’s game, is not medically cleared to return to the lineup and will not play Thursday against the Maple Leafs. Coach Claude Julien said the forward is considered day-to-day. In Thornton’s place, Michael Ryder will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last two games.

Thornton participated in the morning skate wearing a helmet with a shield. Tuesday will be the first game Thornton has missed all season, leaving Zdeno Chara, Mark Recchi and Dennis Seidenberg as the only Bruins to play in each game this season.

Thornton’s absence isn’t the only lineup change for the B’s Thursday. Rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer, who has not played since March 17 in Nashville, will play in place of Johnny Boychuk as part of Julien’s plan to keep everybody fresh for the playoffs. Julien suggested that Shane Hnidy, who has not played an NHL game this season, could play Saturday

Read More: Michael Ryder, Shawn Thornton, Steven Kampfer,
How far do Vezina winners take their teams in the playoffs? 03.31.11 at 12:03 am ET
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Tim Thomas won the Vezina Trophy in 2009.

Everyone knows that goaltending plays a major role in the postseason. It isn’t always about who has the best goalie, but who has the hotter goalie.

This season, the Bruins have the best goalie, as Tim Thomas seems to have all but sewn up the Vezina. So, if Thomas is awarded the trophy this summer in Las Vegas, will he receive it having recently won the Stanley Cup? We take a look at how far goaltenders’ teams have gone in the playoffs in their Vezina-winning seasons.

First, here are some quick numbers on Thomas if he is to win the Vezina this year:

- He will become the first Bruins goaltender to win it since some guy named Tim Thomas way back in 2008-09.

- He will become the fifth goalie to win multiple Vezinas since the adoption of its current criteria in 1982 (it had previously been awarded to the goalie who played the majority of the games for whichever team allowed allowed the fewest goals). He would join an elite class of all-time greats, as Dominik Hasek (six), Martin Brodeur (four), Patrick Roy (three) and Ed Belfour (two) have also won the trophy multiple times since then.

- Since 1982, only Thomas and Pete Peeters (1983) have won the Vezina while playing for the Bruins.

- Thomas would become the third Bruins goaltender to win multiple Vezinas, joining Tiny Thompson (four) and Frank Brimsek (two). He would join Thompson as the only Boston goaltenders to win two Vezinas over the span of three seasons. Thompson won it in 1936 and 1938, and also won in 1930 and 1933.

Now here’s a look at how the teams of goalies that won the Vezina recently fared in the playoffs that season:

2010: Ryan Miller – Sabres eliminated in first round
2009: Tim Thomas – Bruins eliminated in second round
2008: Martin Brodeur – Devils eliminated in first round
2007: Martin Brodeur – Devils eliminated in second round
2006: Miikka Kiprusoff – Flames eliminated in first round
2005: Season cancelled due to lockout
2004: Martin Brodeur – Devils eliminated in first round
2003: Martin Brodeur – Devils won Stanley Cup
2002: Jose Theodore – Canadiens eliminated in second round
2001: Dominik Hasek – Sabres eliminated in second round
2000: Olaf Kolzig – Capitals eliminated in first round

Note that only Brodeur in 2003 even led his team past the second round. Since 1988, only two teams with Vezina winners have won the Cup that season. The Bruins are trying to prove they can make it to the Eastern Conference finals after knocking on the door, the past two seasons, so judging by these numbers, they might have to hope that history doesn’t repeat itself.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Martin Brodeur, Tim Thomas, Tiny Thompson
Mark Recchi intends to retire if Bruins win Stanley Cup this season 03.29.11 at 11:28 pm ET
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Bruins forward Mark Recchi, who passed Paul Coffey for 12th all time in regular season points Tuesday, said after the game that he intends to retire if the Bruins win the Stanley Cup this season.

“If we win a championship, I’m gone,” Recchi said.

Recchi has won the Stanley Cup twice in his career, hoisting the coveted trophy as a member of the Penguins and Hurricanes. He said that he likes the idea of winning it with an Original Six team, and that if the Bruins don’t win this season, he could consider coming back.

“We’ll see,” Recchi said. “We’ll see if I can recover. Obviously take three weeks, a month, see if my body and my head is ready to get back in the grind physically doing the stuff I need to do to get ready for next year.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Mark Recchi,
Tim Thomas blanks Blackhawks for ninth shutout 03.29.11 at 10:03 pm ET
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Tim Thomas picked up his ninth shutout of the season Tuesday night as the Bruins blanked the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, 3-0, at TD Garden.

Thomas made 32 saves on the night, improving his record to 33-10-8.

After a scoreless first period, the B’s got second-period tallies from Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk. Nathan Horton provided the Bruins with some extra breathing room in the third period when he beat Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford his 24th of the season.

The win brought the B’s within three points of the Capitals for second place in the Eastern Conference, as Washington lost in a shootout Tuesday. The B’s have played 76 games to the Capitals’ 77. Should the teams end up finishing the season with the same point total, the Bruins would likely hold the tie-breaker, as they currently have more wins in games determined in regulation.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Mark Recchi now has 12th place on the list of career points all to himself. His assist on Johnny Boychuk’s goal gave him 1,532 points, breaking his tie with Paul Coffey. Recchi would need to play another season to get to Ray Bourque‘s 1579.

- Thomas was in danger of giving up the league lead in goals against average a couple of weeks ago, but his play of late has given him some separation from Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne. Thomas has allowed just one goal over his last three starts, the second time he has had such a three-game stretch. The Bruins did an excellent job of clearing loose pucks in front of the net from the get-go Tuesday, greatly helping Thomas’ cause.

- The interesting story line of Michael Ryder‘s healthy scratches could continue, as Paille has made good use of his spot in the lineup the last two games. Paille picked up a helper on Horton’s goal, getting the puck in front from behind the net.

- Don’t look now, but Johnny Boychuk has two goals in his last four games. Of course, he had just one goal on the season prior to his goal against the Canadiens last Thursday, so the chances anyone worries about his scoring touch aren’t very big.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins did not have a power play the entire game. It was the eighth game that they have had one or zero power plays. Interestingly enough, they are 7-0-1 in those games.

- Shawn Thornton left the game in the second period after getting cut above the eye and did not return. Bleeding from the face, Thornton shoved referee Don VanMassenhoven as he was passing the Chicago bench on his way off the ice, seemingly because Blackhawks were chirping from the bench.

- Another night of solid play but no production from the third line. Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly had an opportunity on Crawford in the first period, but Seguin’s pass in front of the net was just out of Kelly’s reach. Seguin has just one goal over his last 15 games.

Read More: Johnny Boychuk, Mark Recchi, Nathan Horton, Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk give Bruins 2-0 lead 03.29.11 at 9:13 pm ET
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The defensemen came through for the Bruins in the second period, as the B’s lead the Blackhawks, 2-0, on goals from Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk.

Chara fired a wrist shot at a crowded net, and the puck deflected off Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell before sailing past Corey Crawford at 12:02 for his 14th on the season. Just 2:20 later, Mark Recchi dropped a puck off for Boychuk, who beat Crawford from the point. Boychuk now has three goals on the season.

With the assist on Boychuk’s goal, Recchi surpassed Paul Coffey for 12th place in career regular season points with 1,532. Recchi is now 12th all-time.

Shawn Thornton left the ice after being cut above the eye with a skate. He was visibly furious, shoving referee Don VanMassenhoven in an attempt to get to players chirping from the Chicago bench as he skated off.

The Bruins are outshooting the Blackhawks by a 30-17 margin.

Read More: Johnny Boychuk, Mark Recchi, Shawn Thornton, Zdeno Chara
Bruins, Blackhawks skate to scoreless first period 03.29.11 at 8:15 pm ET
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The Bruins and Blackhawks skated to a scoreless first period at TD Garden, but both teams have come out with energy Tuesday night.

The Bruins had scoring opportunities from Brad Marchand, who was stopped by Corey Crawford, as well as the third line. There was only one penalty in the period, as Milan Lucic went off for holding.

The Bruins are playing a responsible defensive game thus far, as they have done a good job of getting back and have cleared out the loose pucks in front of Tim Thomas. As a result, the Blackhawks have only five shots on goal. The B’s had 12 in the first.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Tim Thomas,
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