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Gameday Notes: Thomas expected to start 01.26.11 at 1:18 pm ET
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Tim Thomas was the first Bruins goaltender off the ice at the team’s morning skate, an indication that he will be the starting goalie against the Panthers on Wednesday. Thomas, who was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week last week, took a 2-0 loss to the Kings Monday night in Los Angeles.

Thomas is 23-5-6 on the season and leads the league with a .945 save percentage, 1.83 goals against average. He is tied with Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with seven shutouts.

While the goaltender for the night appears to be known, it isn’t so easy regarding Boston’s blue line. Mark Stuart has been a healthy scratch the last two games, and Claude Julien said following the skate that the team will make a game-time decision regarding who sits.

Here are some notes from the morning skate:

- The lines were similar to what they were Monday night:

Lucic-Krejci-Horton

Marchand-Bergeron-Recchi

Wheeler-Seguin-Ryder

Paille-Campbell-Thornton

- Marc Savard returned home to Peterborough, Ontario to rest, with Julien saying “that’s all you can do when you’ve got a concussion.” There remains no timetable on when the center might be able to rejoin the B’s.

With Savard out, Julien doesn’t feel the Bruins necessarily need to call a player up from Providence.

“Right now we’€™ve got 12 forwards and a lot of that will depend on management and the salary cap and all that stuff and whether is makes sense or not. So that’€™s probably going to be dealt with as we move on here but as we’€™re speaking right now, it’€™s no.”

Some have wondered whether this could mean a promotion for a former first-rounder in Zach Hamill or Joe Colborne, but given the team’s stability with capable centers in Seguin and Wheeler, it doesn’t seem the call-up options should be limited to centers.

- Steven Kampfer said he is not going to get surgery on his nose over the All-Star break after previously considering the procedure. Kampfer broke his nose last Saturday against the Penguins and has worn a full shield since. While his difficulty breathing had led to him considering surgery, he hopes that he will be able to lose the full shield when the team returns from the All-Star break next week.

Instead of surgery, the 22-year-old will return home to Michigan, where he plans on watching his alma mater take on Michigan St. at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday. He’ll be there with some other former Wolverines, including Kings defenseman Jack Johnson.

- While Kampfer is making a name for himself on the ice, but if anyone wants to keep up with him off it, they can do so, as Kampfer is on twitter. While it’s pretty rare to see the B’s on twitter, @SteveKampfer47 says he has fun with it while not going too crazy. Twitter has definitely been used as a sounding board of sorts for professional athletes across all the major sports. Coyotes forward Paul Bissonette is probably the NHL’s equivalent of Chad Ochocinco.

- Brad Marchand, who has pretty much shocked the world (or greater Boston) with his 12 goals so far this season, earned the praise of teammates and his coach on Wednesday. Lucic noted that he saw his talents at the junior level and isn’t ultimately surprised by what he’s brought, while Julien is glad to see that the rookie has made offense a part of his game without the other areas suffering.

“I think he’€™s building confidence and knows that he can give a little bit more to his team as he gets more experience,” Julien said. “And I think the grit is there, it’€™s still there but yet productively he’€™s gotten better.”

- The Bruins All-Stars didn’t appear to be on the same page when it came to discussing the fantasy draft for the All-Star game. Tim Thomas said he’ll watch it from his hotel room — if his room gets VS. — while Zdeno Chara assumed the players had to be there.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Steven Kampfer, Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara
Nathan Gerbe is a ‘pest’ to the Bruins in his homecoming to Boston 01.21.11 at 12:05 pm ET
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The TD Garden ice has always been kind to Nathan Gerbe.

It was again on Thursday night as the list of former Boston College players coming back to Boston and providing nightmare after nightmare to the Bruins continues to grow.

There’s Brian Leetch with the Rangers. There’s David Emma, Brian Gionta and Bill Guerin with the Devils. There’s Patrick Eaves of the Hurricanes. Now, add Nathan Gerbe to that list.

With Bruins holding a precarious 2-1 lead midway through the second period, Gerbe fired a shot from the left circle past Tuukka Rask for the game-tying goal on the power play. It changed the momentum and set the stage for Thomas Vanek to take over the game in the third in Buffalo’s 4-2 win Thursday night at the Garden.

Gerbe – not lacking confidence despite his 5-foot-5 frame – was the latest from The Heights to make life miserable for the Bruins as he mixed it up with B’s captain Zdeno Chara and then lit the lamp.

“I’€™m a little frustrating player to play against,” Gerbe said. “I am a little pest there, so I just tried to get under their skin a little bit. It is all in fun. He is a big guy, and I don’€™t think I would win in a battle but it was definitely one to enjoy. I tired to hold my ground as much as possible. Just stand there and don’€™t fall. He is so strong and such a good D man. It is fun to compete against him.”

He certainly was a pest to the Black and Gold Thursday night.

“Those Boston College guys did a good job for us tonight,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff added. “I thought [Tyler] Myers made a great play, great look to feed it to him. Nathan, on the heels of playing a real strong game for us the other night, playing a excellent game for us tonight.”

Gerbe, of course, was excellent during his three seasons at Boston College, capped off in 2008 when he scored five goals in the final two games of the Frozen Four, leading the Eagles to the national championship. He earned a place at the table as a Hobey Baker finalist as one of the very top players in all of college hockey with 68 points in 43 games. He led the Eagles to the Beapot and Hockey East titles that year, too – on the same Garden ice.

“Yeah you always get a lot of good memories here and a lot of good feelings,” Gerbe said. “You get chills up your body, but it is a different league and you try to do as well as you can every night.”

He scored last year in the playoffs against the Bruins in Game 6 but the Sabres lost, 4-3, as the Bruins moved onto the second round.

Now, he is helping to turn around a Sabres ship that was sinking just two weeks ago. The Sabres have beaten the two teams – Montreal and Boston – ahead of them in back-to-back games and are showing signs of moving up from 10th in the East.

‘Very, very satisfying to score here,” Gerbe said. “Even more satisfying to get the win and get the two points. It was huge for us. Hopefully we can keep rolling.”

Read More: Beanpot, Bill Guerin, Boston Bruins, Boston College
Steven Kampfer: Surgery on nose is a possibility 01.20.11 at 12:08 pm ET
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Bruins rookie defenseman Steve Kampfer, sporting stitches on his right nostril, said he will try to play with his broken nose for now. But Kampfer said surgery is a possibility if his breathing is affected. Kampfer left last Saturday’s game with a bloodied and broken nose when Zdeno Chara‘s stick became entangled with Pascal Dupuis and flew up and raked Kampfer across the face.

“They’re going to try and open up the airway, surgery or what it be,” Kampfer said. “Right now, we’re just trying to see if it pops open in the next couple of days with flushing it more but I’m optimistic that I don’t have to go to surgery because that’s the last thing you want to do but at the same time, I can breathe enough to get by. I think that’s the main issue right now is I can breathe, I can play and that’s what I’m going to try to do moving forward.

“I breathe mostly through my mouth when I play, anyway. I keep my mouth open the whole game. It’s not something that’s bothered me the whole time when I’ve played. But at the same time, it would be nice not to wake up with a cotton mouth every morning. It’s one of those things you’ve got to pray it opens up.”

Read More: Pascal Dupuis, Steven Kampfer, Zdeno Chara,
Bruins and Hurricanes tied after one 01.18.11 at 7:51 pm ET
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The Bruins and Hurricanes find themselves knotted at one after Marc Savard and Jussi Jokinen scored in the first period Monday night at RBC Center.

Though Jokinen did the damage against the B’s, he also helped their case when he tripped Zdeno Chara just 17 seconds into the game to set up Boston’s first power play.

Johnny Boychuk thought he had his first goal of the season when, with Jokinen in the box, Boychuk sent a shot from the point past Cam Ward. The goal was later changed to Savard’s, who appeared to have tipped it.

With less than 20 seconds left in a hooking penalty to Brad Marchand, Blake Wheeler tried skating the puck out of the zone but had it stolen near the blueline. That cost the Bruins after Jokinen sent a rebound off an Eric Staal shot past Tim Thomas.

Each team took two penalties in the period, with the Bruins potentially taking a third, as it appeared Thomas was called for roughing at the end of the period. They’ll begin the second period down a man.

The B’s are being outshot, 19-11. Thomas looked good ast the Hurricanes picked it up in the second half of the period, and over the course of the first made a couple of big kick saves on Sergei Samsonov and Erik Cole.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Johnny Boychuk, Jussi Jokinen, Marc Savard
Another impressive bit about Zdeno Chara’s hat trick at 5:05 pm ET
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Here’s one more thing about Zdeno Chara‘s hat trick (hey, how often is Zdeno Chara going to score three in a game? Not often, so if a lot of attention is paid now, trust it won’t be a popular topic too frequently) that stood out as the WEEI.com Stat Truck was circling the Bruins/Hurricanes block.

Chara was able to score his three goals despite seeing much less ice time than he’s used to. He was only on the ice for 20:45 in the game, making it his second-lowest time on ice total this season. His season-low came last Tuesday, when he played only 16:12 against the Senators in a 6-0 win.

On the season, the captain has averaged 26:18 of ice time per night, though he has played as much as 31:48, which he did when Johnny Boychuk went down on Oct. 23 in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers. It’s not too shocking that he got much less time on the ice Monday, as the numbers would suggest the team likes to give their minute-eating captain a little less time in blowouts or against some of the lesser teams. He’s averaged 21:27 in three games against the Senators, 24:33 against the Devils, and 24:48 against the Panthers.

Read More: Zdeno Chara,
Bruins look to make it two wins in two days vs. Hurricanes at 12:05 pm ET
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The Bruins and Hurricanes have taken turns shutting one another out this season, and on Tuesday, the Canes will look to avenge a 7-0 beatdown the B’s delivered on Monday. Tim Thomas had his seventh shutout, while Zdeno Chara notched his first career hat trick.

WHERE IT’S AT

- The Hurricanes are 11-7-2 at the RBC Center this season. They’ve won their last three home games, the most recent of which was a 6-4 win over the Lightning on Saturday.

- The Bruins are 13-5-4 in road games this season. They have picked up points in each of their last seven away games (4-0-3). It’s been over a week since they’ve played outside of the Garden, with the B’s scoring four goals in the final 3:23 against the Penguins in a 4-3 victory in Pittsburgh last Monday.

NOTABLE NUMBERS

- Only two of Thomas’ seven shutouts have come against teams that would have a playoff spot if the season were to end today, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s leading the league in the category and both the other major goaltending categories (GAA and save percentage). Claude Julien has given Thomas the next start following each of his shutouts this season.

- Despite not picking up any points on Monday, Carolina rookie Jeff Skinner still has eight (5 G, 3 A) over his last six games. The seventh overall pick has 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points. His point total leads all rookies, with Brad Marchand‘s 19 points putting him 10th and Tyler Seguin‘s 16 putting him 14th.

- After going 0-for-13 on the power play from Dec. 30 to Jan. 8, the Bruins have picked it up on the man advantage, going 5-for-22 in five games since. They are still just 19th in the league with a 17.5 power play percentage, though their fourth-ranked penalty kill hasn’t allowed a goal in four games.

- Milan Lucic has gone 12 goals without a game, though he did shoot a puck past a goaltender who tried saving it, if that counts for anything, on Monday. Lucic still leads the B’s with 16 goals on the season.

- Adam McQuaid, Marc Savard, and Mark Stuart tied for a game-high plus-3 rating on Monday. McQuaid was one of four Bruins to have a multi-point game in the matinee. Chara, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci also had multiple points on the day.

STORYLINES GOING IN

- Will Andrew Ference play? It doesn’t necessarily seem that way after Claude Julien addressed the media this morning and called the defenseman “questionable” to go.

Julien had said Monday that he was a possibility for Tuesday’s game, and that it would be a tough decision regarding which guy to sit. While that likely won’t pertain to Tuesday, it’s still a question worth exploring. Both Steven Kampfer and McQuaid have played very well, and both have four points over their last four games. Kampfer brings the Bruins more of what they need with his abilities as a puck-moving defenseman, but the B’s might also want McQuaid in there in case it’s a more physical game following the B’s beatdown of the Canes Monday.

- The Bruins chased Cam Ward from Monday’s game in less than 12 minutes, though Paul Maurice said following the contest that he expects Ward to start Tuesday. Justin Peters wasn’t much of an improvement over Ward, as he allowed five goals over the rest of the game and racked up four penalty minutes.

Read More: Andrew Ference, Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara,
Peter Bondra might want dinner from friend Zdeno Chara after hat trick at 11:36 am ET
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Looks like the fun hasn’t run out on Zdeno Chara‘s hat trick celebration.

After admitting following Monday’s game that he lifted his back-handed toss of an invisible hat from former Capitals great Peter Bondra, Chara and the celebrations were the subject of a conversation between Yahoo! Sports’ Greg Whyshynski and Bondra.

“I think I did it twice,” Bondra told Wyshynski on Monday night. “If [Chara] used that move, I think it’s going to cost him dinner next time he comes to Washington.”

Bondra even received a text message from the B’s captain on Monday, with Chara perhaps eager to see if he pulled it off correctly.

“He asked me if I saw his celebration,” Bondra said.

Chara’s teammates were amused with the celebration, with Milan Lucic carefully limiting his answer to “yes” as to whether it was the most interesting he’d seen, and Adam McQuaid figuring the Hurricanes may not have been too happy with it. The creator of it sees it as more a case of living in the moment than trying to upstage the opposition.

“The celebration … you cannot practice it or anything,” Bondra told Wyshynski. “It’s a moment when the excitement of your goal make you react to the moment. Sometimes I wasn’t happy with what I did. It’s a moment where you’re excited to show how excited you are, but there’s a line and you want to respect the other team.”

Read More: Peter Bondra, Zdeno Chara,
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