Bruins

Thomas backstops Bruins to 2-1 win over Canadiens

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Thomas backstops Bruins to 2-1 win over Canadiens

BOSTON -- The Bruins still havent got their full groove back after last weeks epic clash against the Canucks, but they had just enough Thursday night to take down the struggling Canadiens.

Goals in the first and third periods gave the Bruins all the offense they would need, and Tim Thomas' 33 saves backstopped the Bs to a 2-1 win. Thomas 16 saves in the first period served notice to Montreal that it was going to take something a little extra to beat him, and the Habs didnt have it on this night.

The Bruins got on the board early in the first, and the Hockey gods handed it to Jordan Caron after he had played sparingly over the last month. Johnny Boychuk fired a dump-in attempt off the glass in Montreals end, and the puck bounced right to Caron in front with Carey Price out of the net.
Carons second goal of the season gave the Bruins a slim one-goal lead, and thats the way it stayed until the red-hot David Krejci line struck for the insurance score in the final period. A Nathan Horton pass from behind the net reached Milan Lucic waiting in the slot, and he lofted a funky-looking backhander off Josh Gorges' stick and past Price to make it a two-goal lead.Krejci picked up the second assist on the goal and has now put together a career-high 10-game point streak this season.
Montreal attempted to pick up the intensity in the third period with a P.K. Subban cheap shot on Krejci, followed by a power-play goal, but the Bruins held on and improved to 21-0-0 when entering the third period with a lead.GOLD STAR: Tim Thomas made 33 saves to backstop the Bruins to a victory they might not have deserved, and only gave up a goal when the referees handed the Canadiens a power play in the aftermath of a nasty P.K. Subban elbow thrown at David Krejcis head that led to a scrum on the ice. Thomas was at his best in the first period when sloppy turnovers and porous defense led to close scoring bids from Mike Blunden and Andrei Kostitsyn among his 16 stops. Wouldnt quite say this was a game stolen by Thomas, but it comes awfully close to that territory.BLACK EYE: Patrice Bergeron lost 5 out of 15 faceoffs, missed high on a perfect 2-on-1 scoring opportunity and didnt register much in 15:40 of ice time. He looked frustrated and uncomfortable on the ice, and perhaps he was after missing on an invitation to the NHL All-Star Game that he so richly deserved. If he was disappointed, it spilled out onto the ice a little bit against a Montreal team that he always ups his compete level against. Bergeron was the most deserving among those snubbed for the NHL All-Star Game, so maybe the voting process should get the black eye instead.TURNING POINT: A turning point for Milan Lucic and the Bruins when he managed to scoop the puck like his stick was a shovel and backhand a shot off Josh Gorges and past Carey Price for the game-winner.HONORABLE MENTION: A little bit of credit to Pierre Gauthier for ripping apart a Montreal Canadiens team over the last two years, and really helping out the Bruins in the process. Trading Mike Cammalleri in the middle of a game is just the latest in a long line of panic moves engineered by Gauthier, and there has to be some mal intent behind doing it during the game. Cammalleri was removed from the locker room, put into a cab bound for the team hotel and told hed been traded before the third period had even started. That is some cold stuff, and a clear reaction to his losers mentality speech from Wednesday.BY THE NUMBERS: 10 the number of consecutive games with a point for David Krejci after picking up the secondary assist on Milan Lucics game-winner. Its the longest point streak of Krejcis career, and the longest this season in the NHL.QUOTE TO NOTE: Im sure its going to be a good experience for him to see all these players. There are a lot of top players from different teams in the league that all get together. Hopefully hell learn from them and carry it with him. Hes come a long way from last year. Zdeno Chara on first-year All-Star Tyler Seguin getting selected to take part in the NHLs midseason classic.

Rask recovering from concussion, may be ready to play on Saturday

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Rask recovering from concussion, may be ready to play on Saturday

BRIGHTON -- Tuukka Rask is quickly making his way through the concussion protocol and may return to action this weekend.

The Bruins netminder skated with the other injured players ahead of Monday’s main team practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and is on track to rejoin the team at regular practice on Tuesday barring any setbacks in his concussion recovery. That would leave Rask with just a couple of games missed after getting trucked by Anders Bjork at practice last week, and it would give the Bruins back their No. 1 goaltender after Anton Khudobin let in five goals vs. the Sabres on Thursday night.

“He’s in the protocol and progressing well,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’ll probably join us [on Tuesday] for the next step if there are no ill effects from today. That’s a positive. If there are no setbacks, I think Saturday is a more realistic [timetable for a return].”

The hope would be that Rask could start elevating his game when he does return, and play better than the goalie that’s posted the 1-3-0 record, 3.30 goals against average and .882 save percentage thus far this season. But first things first with the recovery to his first career concussion as an NHL goalie, and the set of hurdles that must be passed before Rask is again allowed to jump back into game action as early as this weekend.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Bruins practice with Rask, David Krejci and Noel Acciari all skating prior to practice, Patrice Bergeron staying off ice with a maintenance day and Kevan Miller skating in main practice with a maroon, no-contact jersey:

Marchand-Schaller-Bjork
DeBrusk-Backes-Pastrnak
Agostino-Nash-White
Beleskey-Kuraly-Vatrano

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Miller-Postma

Khudobin

Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

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Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

BRIGHTON -- Injuries, and some really tough losses, have put a bit of a damper on the start to the Bruins season. But there've also been a couple of unquestioned bright spots.

And one of them is Tim Schaller, who's been a strong, consistent performer in the first couple of weeks of the season. The New Hampshire native -- and lifelong Bruins fan -- was penciled in as a fourth-line winger throughout most of training camp, but he’s played everywhere as injuries have ravaged the B's roster.

The high point was probably centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak (and notching an assist) in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Sabres, and filling in for a late-scratched David Krejci with a very different set of skills. Certainly he’s been a standout for the Bruins with his physicality, including stepping up and fighting man mountain Erik Gudbranson after Gudbranson's nasty boarding hit on Frank Vatrano last week, and he’s also kicked in a couple of goals and three points in seven games thus far this season.

“It’s a reactionary thing, and that’s just in a person,” said Bruce Cassidy of fighting Gudbranson. “It’s a character thing because you don’t have a lot of time to think about it. Good for Timmy. That earns a lot of street cred not only in your own locker room, but the other teams notice it. too.

"We know with the goals that he can obviously chip in [offensively] and he’s doing a great job for what we’re asking him to do. He’s probably going to take ownership if he’s out there with some young guys on a line, and if he can be a leader and get that line playing the right way every night that is very valuable to us.”

Schaller’s game to this point is a continuation of what he showed in his first season with the Bruins last year, when the 26-year-old posted 7 goals and 14 points in 59 games while becoming a staple in Boston’s bottom-6 group. He’s once again shown pretty good straight-ahead speed for a big man, and a willingness to take his 6-foot-2, 219-pound frame straight to the net.

“I’ve been moving well and I’ve got the two goals, so personally I’m happy [with my game],” said Schaller. “Hopefully others can feed off what I’m trying to do out there, and we get a more well-balanced game [as a team]. I had a good season last year, and what was really good was that I knew that I had more to give. That’s what I’m trying to do this season.

“I can obviously produce more. I had a good start to last season and then I kind of fell off a little bit. So hopefully I can be a little more consistent for this entire year.”

That would be a very good thing for a Bruins team that can use him in a bottom-6 energy role when its roster is healthy, and will fully utilize his versatility in times of injuries and adversity.