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Nathan Horton makes his first goal in a long time count, Bruins beat Hurricanes 02.01.11 at 9:31 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron added to his current hot streak, while Nathan Horton scored his first goal since Jan. 3 as the Bruins defeated the Hurricanes, 3-2, on Tuesday night.

Daniel Paille also scored for the B’s, recording his first goal of the season when he tipped a Zdeno Chara shot past Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward.

Tim Thomas made 24 saves on the night and improved his season record to 25-5-6. His 25 wins put him in a tie with Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller for the league lead.

The Hurricanes received goals from Jamie McBain and Joe Corvo in the first and third period, respectively.

The Bruins will return the Garden Thursday night when they face the Stars.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- To say the Bruins needed Horton to get going in an understatement. The 25-year-old had just 12 goals entering the night, and only one of those had come in the last 20 games. With Marc Savard out, the Bruins need all their guys going, and can’t depend on Patrice Bergeron to continue scoring enough for multiple people. Speaking of which…

- Bergeron continues to score enough to make up for any slumps teammates may be going through. Bergeron, who was named the NHL’s No. 1 Star of the Month for January via his 17 points last month (8 G, 9 A) kicked off January in style by scoring his 17th goal of the season.

- With Adam McQuaid‘s plus-1 on the night, he is now a plus-16 on the season, good for fifth on the team. Chara was also a plus-1 and leads the Bruins with a plus-1 and leads the B’s with a plus-23 rating.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins found themselves shorthanded four times, with the last penalty, a Brad Marchand hooking call, resulting in a Carolina goal.

- Staying in the special teams department, the Bruins didn’t have a single power play over the course of the game, as the only time a Hurricanes player found the penalty box was when Jay Harrison got five for fighting following his first-period bout with Milan Lucic.

It was only the second game this season (Dec. 18 vs. Washington) in which the Bruins did not have a power play.

- Tyler Seguin played just 6:37 after he received an early benching for a shift early on that featured multiple turnovers and led to a Michael Ryder interference penalty.

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Team Lidstrom wins NHL All-Star Game, Tim Thomas gets victory 01.30.11 at 8:17 pm ET
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Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas became the first goalie to win three All-Star Games in a row when Team Lidstrom defeated Team Staal, 11-10, Sunday in Raleigh, N.C.

Thomas, who also won the 2008 and 2009 All-Star Games, made 11 saves on 15 shots in the third period. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara had an assist on Team Staal’s first goal, a tally by Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin.

Anze Kopital, Danny Briere and Louie Eriksson each had a pair of goals for Team Lidstrom. Eric Staal and Kris Letang led Team Staal with two goals. Patrick Sharp, who had a goal and two assists for Team Staal, was named the game’s MVP.

The Bruins will return to practice in Wilmington on Monday before heading to Raleigh, where they will face the Hurricanes on Tuesday.

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Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara drafted to different teams in All-Star fantasy draft 01.28.11 at 8:30 pm ET
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Bruins All-Star representatives Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas will play as opponents in Sunday’s All-Star game. Chara was made the seventh overall pick by Team Staal in the Friday night’s fantasy draft to determine the rosters, while Nicklas Lidstrom selected Thomas with the 10th overall pick.

Eric Staal made Hurricanes teammate Cam Ward the first overall pick in the draft, causing Thomas to be available later for Team Lidstrom, who chose Lightning center Steven Stamkos second overall.

Asked earlier this month what would happen if Thomas and Chara were to play on different teams in the All-Star game, Thomas replied, “I win, he loses.”

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There will be plenty of time for Tim Thomas to focus… after the All-Star break 01.27.11 at 4:49 pm ET
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There will be plenty of time for Tim Thomas to focus on what’s at stake in the final 32 games of the regular season and hopefully, long after that. He reminded reporters of that following Wednesday night’s win when asked about the second half of the season that starts following this weekend’s All-Star game.

“Man, we just started the break five minutes ago,” Thomas said. “I’m just going to focus on the break. Otherwise, we don’t get that mental break we’re talking about.”

Fair enough. Thomas has earned the right to reflect on what has been a first half filled with superlatives worthy of a Vezina and Hart trophy winner. Thomas has been that good.

Consider:

- He came within 11 minutes and 23 seconds of his NHL-leading eighth shutout on Wednesday night against the Panthers.

- He leads the NHL in goals against at 1.81.

- He leads the NHL in save percentage at .945.

- He is tied for second in wins with 24 behind Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller.

- His teammates believe they will win every time he takes the ice.

That last one is the most subjective but also the most important. Thomas has recovered from summer hip surgery to become the backbone of their Bruins team. So, after the 2-1 Wednesday Thomas admitted he’ll take some time to savor the winning feeling heading into the break before gearing up physically and mentally for the final 32.

“I was thinking win, feel the good feeling,” Thomas said. “Then you can really savor the feeling for a couple of days because usually we travel or get ready for another game. So yeah I thought about it.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Tim Thomas unveils quirky tactic after latest ‘sick’ performance 01.26.11 at 11:39 pm ET
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Tim Thomas

For as long as there has been hockey, there has been the stereotype that goalies — perhaps even more than other players — have their quirks. In Wednesday’s 2-1 win over the Panthers, Bruins netminder Tim Thomas used one of his to make sure he knew what he was working with at all times.

When asked about the closing seconds of the game and a save he made on former teammate Dennis Wideman with 0.4 seconds to go, Thomas revealed a habit of his that he has depended on over the years.

“I count how many right-handed guys and how many left-handed guys there are, and there was only one right-handed guy on the ice there at the end, with Wideman,” Thomas said. “Unless I miscounted.

“I know that if they wrap it on my glove side, a lefty is going to have a different shot, but I knew where the right-handed guy was going to be because I’ve been watching Wides on TV and that’s where he’s scoring a lot of his goals, right from that pocket where he tried to get a shot on me. So to make a long story short, I was prepared for a right-handed shot from that angle.”

Thomas said he counts lefties and righties every faceoff and every line change. It seems like a logical and useful tactic for a goalie, but none of the reporters in the room, including one former goalie, had ever heard of anyone doing it. Thomas said he wasn’t sure how many other goalies did it, either.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I started doing it in Europe because there are so few right-handed guys. So I actually had to be aware of when there was more than one right-handed guy on the ice.”

The way Thomas, who has been dealing with a cold, broke down that final play of the game, he made it sound almost as if he was seeing it all unfold in slow motion. When asked if that’s how it felt to him, he noted that he just seems to be on top of things when he’s under the weather.

“It actually felt like [I could see the game in slow motion] all night for some reason,” he said. “I’ve got a cold if you guys haven’t heard that, and that seems to happen to me when I have a cold. I play some of my best games sick. I personally don’t like it, physically. But for example, my family, whenever they find out I’m sick, they’re like, ‘Hey, you’re going to play good.’”

Whatever Thomas is doing and however he feels, it’s obviously working. And it’s probably best to not try and make sense of it. To paraphrase Reg Dunlop in “Slap Shot,” he’s a goalie, he’s supposed to be like that.

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Tim Thomas helps Bruins head to All-Star break with win over Panthers at 9:30 pm ET
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Fans braved the weather on Wednesday night in traveling to TD Garden, and were rewarded with a 2-1 Bruins victory behind Tim Thomas’ 24th win of the season.

Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic scored in the first and second period, respectively. Marchand is now fourth on the B’s with 13 goals, while Lucic improved his team-leading total to 20. Defenseman Bryan Allen scored the Panthers’ lone goal at 8:37 of the third period.

Thomas, now 24-5-6 on the season, is now tied with Canadiens’ netminder Carey Price for second in the NHL lead in wins. Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller leads the league with 25. Thomas sits atop the league in save percentage, goals against average, and is tied for the league lead in shutouts. He made 34 saves Wednesday night, with the B’s firing 35 shots on Tomas Vokoun.

The Bruins will now break for the All-Star weekend. The skills competition will take place Saturday, with the actual game being played Sunday in Raleigh, N.C. The B’s will will return to action Tuesday in that very city, taking on the Hurricanes in the fourth meeting between the teams this season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

-Milan Lucic reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career. Less than two minutes into the second, linemate David Krejci won a faceoff straight back to Lucic at the top of the left circle, and the 22-year-old winger didn’t waste any time firing a quick snap shot into the top right corner. Lucic now has four goals in his last six games. Coming into the season, he said getting 20 goals was one of his targets. Time to raise the bar a little higher.

- The Bruins didn’t see another center suffer an injury, which was certainly a concern when David Krejci was down on the ice after crashing into the boards following a hit from Panthers forward Rostislav Olesz. Trainer Don DelNegro came out to tend to him, and Krejci left the ice and went down the tunnel. Moments after the scare, Krejci was back on the bench and returned to the ice in short order, not missing any shifts in the process.

Krejci went on to play a huge role in Lucic’s second-period tally, winning the face-off clean in the Panthers’ zone early in the period and drawing it to Lucic, who fired a quick snapshot past Vokoun from high in the circle.

- Brad Marchand remains hot for the Bruins. The surprising offensive contributor now has 11 points (7 G, 4 A) in his last 11 games and has 13 goals thus far in his rookie year. He beat Vokoun on a wraparound in the first period for the game’s first goal. Linemate Patrice Bergeron picked up the primary assist and now has 15 points over his last 10 games.

- The Bruins stayed out of the box. The Bruins avoided the sin bin until the refs found Dennis Seidenberg guilty of a hold 5:37 into the third. The one infraction matched a season low for the B’s.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Nathan Horton now has one goal over his last 20 games. His line had a much stronger effort on Wednesday than in the team’s 2-0 loss Monday in which he was demoted to a line with Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin.

- Thomas lost what would have been a league-leading eighth shutout of the season when Bryan Allen made it a 2-1 game at 8:37 of the third. Thomas remains tied with Henrik Lundqvist with seven blankings on the season.

The Panthers outshot the B’s, 16-9, in the third.

- With how well Marchand has been playing, you almost wish he didn’t have to take five days off for the All-Star break.

Scott McLaughlin contributed to this report.

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Milan Lucic adds to Bruins lead in second period at 8:37 pm ET
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Milan Lucic is a 20-goal-scorer for the first time, and after two periods the Bruins lead the Panthers, 2-0.

David Krejci, who had an injury scare on the first period after crashing into the boards, made the second period memorable for a more positive reason. The pivot won a face-off clean in the Panthers zone and drew it back to Lucic, who scored on a snapshot at 1:52. Lucic’s career-high for goals in a season was 17, which he scored in 2008-09, a season in which he played 72 games.

There were no penalties in the period, and through two the only penalty came in the form of a first-period high-sticking call on Panthers forward Christopher Higgins.

The shutout remains intact for Tim Thomas, with the B’s outshooting the Panthers, 26-19.

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