Bruins

Notes: Thomas ready to take on the Bell Centre

191545.jpg

Notes: Thomas ready to take on the Bell Centre

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON, Mass. Tim Thomas is raring to go against the Montreal Canadiens.

He knows his career numbers against Montreal are among the worst he has against any team, and his body of work at the Bell Centre is less than stellar. Hes 10-14-4 with a 3.05 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage in 28 career games against the Habs.

Despite all of that, along with the hate expected to be brewing on the ice, Thomas thinks hes thoroughly ready to go against a Habs team that should bring the best out of him a scary thought for Canadiens players looking for weaknesses in the game of a goalie that set an NHL record with a .938 save percentage this season.

It gets me into the game. I generally have problems with the teams that are overly nice to me, which is kind of weird. When everybody is just playing hockey the way you need to do to get wins, it just helps me get into the game, said Thomas. It happens in most series no matter who youre playing against. At this time of year whoever the team is lined up against you, thats the team you have to go through in order to get to your goal. Thats the way were going to approach it.

Thomas, 36, admitted that he used to get too keyed up to play at the Bell Centre during playoff games against the Canadiens when he would really drink in the frenzied atmosphere around him. But he quickly realized he cant do that and also be ready to play against a team with such talented offensive playmakers as Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri and P.K. Subban.

We have quite a few guys that have played there in playoff atmospheres, and hopefully that works out for us, said Thomas. The Bell Centre was never disorienting or dizzying. It can be one of the most fun places to play. Its just got a lot of energy and youve got to channel it to the good.

Sometimes you have to block the energy so you remain focused and calm, and other times you can use the energy. The atmosphere can make it easier or harder. Its usually up to you. During the national anthems theres a lot of energy and its really loud. My first year there in the playoffs I was trying to really take in the atmosphere and stuff, but then when they first dropped the puck it really messed me up for the first few minutes of the game at least.

Thomas said he has indeed played in the Lake Placid rink before, as part of the ECAC tournament finals when he played goaltender for the University of Vermont. Thomas was looking forward to spending a couple of days at the former US Olympic site between Games Three and Four in Montreal.

The college Catamounts simply drove in and out of the rink when he played there.

I hadnt put to much thought into it until I was asked about it. It ought to be interesting to go to the site of 1980 Miracle on Ice, said Thomas. It looks like Ill have a little more time to walk around the town. It was the biggest influence on my life as a hockey player, by far.

Itll be a place to get away outside of Montreal. Zdeno Chara probably wont need a security guard there than he would be in Montreal. Its a lot better than being in Montreal and being a part of the circus.

Tyler Seguin isnt expected to play, at least at the start of the series, and coach Claude Julien hopes the youngster takes something from the first games or two against the Canadiens that he may be able to potentially use on the ice later in Bostons playoff run.

This is a chance for him to grow no matter how he plays or how much he doesnt play, said Seguin. There is something to be learned while being a part of a team in the playoffs.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Issues with gambling and Vegas Golden Knights?

vegas-golden-knights-logo.jpg

Morning Skate: Issues with gambling and Vegas Golden Knights?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while still in disbelief at what happened to Gordon Hayward last night.

*Interesting piece on the connection between gambling and the NHL in Las Vegas where they’ve just kicked their new expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights.

*Would you like a Providence Bruins game-worn jersey and give to a great cause at the same time? Here are the Pink the Rink Bruins jerseys up for auction on eBay with the money earmarked for cancer research and treatment.

*Some interesting stuff from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman in his 30 Thoughts about the start that Malcolm Subban is off to with the Vegas Golden Knights and whether that’s in any way a reflection on the way goalies are being developed with the Bruins.

*So, the Ottawa Senators clearly didn’t miss Erik Karlsson given the start that they got off to, but there’s no doubt hockey fans did as he makes his return from offseason surgery.

*Nikita Kucherov just keeps on improving for the Tampa Bay Lightning after a Hart Trophy-level season last year.

*For something completely different: I don’t understand why there’s anything controversial about somebody saying In ‘N Out Burger is overrated. While it’s a perfectly fine West Coast fast food chain, it is absolutely overrated at this point. The fries are average at best, and the burgers are merely okay compared to all of the other burger joints out there.  

 

 

Inconsistent Bruins hope to settle in at home

cp-bruins-cassidy-101817x.jpg

Inconsistent Bruins hope to settle in at home

BRIGHTON -- The Bruins' actual 2-3-0 won-loss record isn’t particularly terrible, especially when you consider they were without Patrice Bergeron and David Backes.

But they've been wildly inconsistent within those first five games, playing a couple of very good games against the Predators and Coyotes while suffering three ugly, non-competitive losses to Colorado and Vegas. The Bruins are 20th in goals scored (2.8 goals per game) and 22nd in goals allowed (3.6), and their special teams have been average at best in a soft part of the schedule that should have allowed them to get off to a good start.

The Bruins have looked sloppy much of the time with chaotic breakouts, far too many breakdowns in defensive coverage, and goaltending has been average at best.

As a result they're scuffling in the Atlantic Division as the Lightning and Maple Leafs have sprinted out to strong starts. Clearly it’s still early -- nearly the entire season is in front of them -- but there’s also no illusion about the need for a quick turnaround in what’s going to be a competitive division.

That's why the next four games, all at TD Garden, are so important.

“We’ve been inconsistent in our game. We’ve been good and we’ve been not good, so hopefully being home will allow us to get back into form,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “We knew going in with a youth movement that we’d had some ups and downs. We’ve had both. We’ve had some really strong games and we’ve had some other games where there’s a learning curve.

“As good as [our] prospects are, it falls on the core group to be solid and consistent every night. Then you lose a bit of your core group [to injuries] and you need your support players that aren’t your core group -- but aren’t kids, either -- to contribute. So we’re battling through all of that, and it’s up to us to put in a game plan that gets us through it. We haven’t achieved the level we’d like. We aren’t hiding behind that. We’d like to be better than we are right now, and we’re facing it head on every day.”

Clearly there are plenty of players in the “support player” category referenced by Cassidy who haven’t performed to date, and that also explains some of the Bruins consistency issues. Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner, Frank Vatrano and Riley Nash have a combined two assists and a combined minus-5 rating through those first five games, and are among the players that need to step up and perform if the Bruins are going to start achieving the consistency that Cassidy is actively seeking right now.