|Tim Thomas returns to form following four straight losses||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.'
|Claude Julien says he doesn’t support Tuukka Rask’s displays of frustration||03.21.11 at 1:16 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When Claude Julien put Tim Thomas back in to start the third period against the Maple Leafs Saturday night, the logical reason as to why was because of Tuukka Rask‘s latest display of frustration. After Rask, who came in with over 11 minutes remaining in the second period in relief of Thomas, allowed the game’s fifth goal, he was visibly infuriated with defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who screened him on the play.
Julien has maintained that the move was not disciplinary, and that it was because Thomas wanted to go back out. Monday, he shed light on Rask’s behavior on the ice.
“I don’t support that,” Julien said. “I don’t think anybody supports that, including him. Sometimes frustration sets in, you see players breaking their sticks after a goal against or something. You see them putting their heads up in the air after they miss an open net. There’s a frustration point, so I’m certainly not going to stand here and start accusing him of that, but it’s something you don’t want to see from anybody because it has a big impact on your team.
“Having said that, I think Tuukka’s aware of that, and if anything, he’s been playing some of his best hooky lately, so I don’t think there’s any need for that. I think it’s just that sometimes you’ve got to control your emotions. He’s frustrated with the first half of the year, and he wants to help this hockey club. Sometimes his emotions are probably running a little too high and he reacts that way, but having said that, it had no influence on my decision on Saturday.”
For what it’s worth, Rask has been cool as a cucumber off the ice all season despite the uncertainty as to when he’ll play. On the ice, however, he’s never shied away from expressing his emotions, and Julien hopes he can keep them in check.
|Maple Leafs crush Bruins in Toronto||03.19.11 at 9:46 pm ET|
Tim Thomas, who allowed four goals on the night, was pulled in the second period, but returned to start the third. The Leafs got goals from Luke Schenn, Nazem Kadri, Joey Crabb, Mike Brown, and Keith Aulie. Thomas was yanked after Brown’s second-period goal, though Tuukka Rask played only 11:42 before Thomas was reinserted between the pipes.
Adam McQuaid had the first Bruins goal, firing a puck off Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf’s skate to beat an otherwise outstanding James Reimer. Daniel Paille scored with 19.8 seconds remaining in the game. The B’s went 0-for-2 on the power play, and have scored just two goals on the man advantage since acquiring Tomas Kaberle.
The Bruins have now lost six of their last seven games, going 1-3-3. They will return to TD Garden to face the Devils on Tuesday.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Can’t help but wonder what the reasoning was behind putting Thomas back in net to start the third period after yanking him in the second. Rask did not appear to be a happy camper after Dennis Seidenberg screened him on Aulie’s goal, though Claude Julien said after the game that the decision had nothing to do with it. Julien’s plan could be to use Rask against the Devils on Tuesday, so perhaps he was just trying to preserve him after playing him last two games.
- Overall it was a tremendously uninspired effort for the Bruins. Too many odd man rushes did them in, and it wasn’t as though they were getting beaten by a bunch of elite scorers. None of the five players to score for the Leafs had more than three goals entering the game.
- When the Bruins stumbled in the three games (0-1-2) following their seven-game win-streak, it seemed the road would be a good place to get back on track. Instead of finding their way, the B’s continued their skid on a four-game road trip that produced just one win. Eight of their final 11 games will be played at home, so they’ll try to straighten things out a the Garden after a very unsuccessful road trip.
- The seven-game point streak for David Krejci has come to an end. He had 3-6-9 totals over his last seven contests.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Schenn didn’t make McQuaid look very good on the game’s first goal, so it was good to see the rookie blueliner make up for it with his second goal of the season. On any other night, getting beaten for a goal and scoring a goal doesn’t make for a standout performance, but there was little to like from the Bruins’ standpoint Saturday.
- People get ahead of themselves when it comes to Tyler Seguin and whether he deserves more playing time, but he was a rare bright spot for the Bruins on an otherwise very ugly night. Reimer robbed the rookie a number of times, but Seguin didn’t need to score to stand out amongst an unproductive Boston bunch.
- This speaks to how bad things were, but Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara, Krejci and the Merlot Line can pat themselves on the back knowing that they were the only two Bruins skaters to not finish the night with a negative rating.
|Tim Thomas pulled as Maple Leafs add to lead||at 8:50 pm ET|
Twenty-nine seconds after Joey Crabb buried a rebound past Thomas to make it 3-1, Mike Brown beat the B’s netminder five-hole from the left face-off circle, giving the Leafs a three-goal lead. Claude Julien then elected to yank his starter, putting Tuukka Rask in. Rask looked good for the most part but was beaten by Keith Aulie on a shot he never saw. He seemed upset following the play, as he was screened by Dennis Seidenberg.
Of the six players to score goals between the two teams tonight, none of them had more than three goals on the season entering the game.
The period featured some more encouraging signs from Tyler Seguin. The 19-year-old is playing a more confident game and was robbed by James Reimer earlier in the period on a breakaway. For the second straight game, he has gotten time on the power play, and his style of play really fits with the speed of Rich Peverley, with whom he’s skated of late.
|Zdeno Chara scores, Bruins lead Islanders after two||03.11.11 at 8:37 pm ET|
The power play drought is over, Zdeno Chara is making noise on the scoring sheet, and the Bruins lead the Islanders 2-1 after the second period.
The Bruins captain scored his 12th goal of the season when sound passing by Tomas Kaberle and David Krejci led to a blast from the top of the left circle on a 5-on-3. It was the Bruins’ first goal in their last 22 power plays.
Chara drew both penalties, as he was held by Milan Jurcina and saw the Islanders turned a shorthanded bid into a Bruins 5-on-3 when Frans Nielson cross-checked him in the Bruins’ zone.
|Bruins lead Islanders after one||at 7:41 pm ET|
The Bruins lead the Islanders, 1-0, after a period thanks to Nathan Horton’s 20th goal of the season.
Horton beat Al Montoya by kicking a rebound off a Milan Lucic shot back to himself and firing it in. He now has goals in two straight games and six goals in his last 10.
The Bruins went 0-for-2 on the power play, failing to take advantage of penalties to Justin DiBenedetto and Kyle Okposo. Matt Bartkowski was the only Bruin sent to the sin bin, and a sprawling Tim Thomas came up big for the B’s by stopping an onslaught with Boston shorthanded.
The Islanders outshot the Bruins, 11-8, in the period.
|Bruins enter third period tied with Sabres||03.10.11 at 8:44 pm ET|
The Bruins gave up a two-goal lead in the second period, and they head to the third period tied with the Sabres, 2-2.
The Sabres would tie the game on a Thomas Vanek power-play goal. Tim Thomas made the initial save, but in trying to make sure he had it secured saw it slowly glide into the net.
There were five minor penalties between the two teams in the period, with the B’s killing off a 5-on-3. There were two fights in the final minutes of the period, as Adam McQuaid fought an even bout with Paul Gaustad, while Milan Lucic fought Cody McCormick for McCormick’s second fight of the night.
Zdeno Chara was called for a debatable boarding call, as he shoved Steve Montador in the circle and saw the momentum take his former teammate into the boards after the spill.
The Sabres are outshooting the B’s, 33-22.