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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bruins beat the defending Stanley Cup champions with one of their best efforts of the season


He might have stumbled a bit after the All-Star break but can we agree that Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is lights out again?

He improved to 33-10-8, earned his ninth shutout of the season and inched his GAA under 2.00 (1.96) with 32 saves as Boston (43-23-10) blanked the Chicago Blackhawks (41-27-8) 3-0 last night at TD Garden.

At this point, Thomas should start booking a room in Las Vegas (I recommend the MGM Grand) since he's winning the Vezina trophy in June.

In symmetry with Thomas finding his game again, his team in front of him is currently rolling again and frankly, it couldn't come at a better time.

The Blackhawks came in with tired legs, having survived an overtime win at Detroit the night before. Boston took it to them from the opening face-off but they weren't rewarded until the second period.

Zdeno Chara (14th of the season from Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand) and Johnny Boychuk (3rd of the season from Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic) scored two goals 2:20 apart a little more than midway through the second period.

Chara's shot from the point was deflected by Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell while Boychuk got off what Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford (31 saves) described as a knucklepuck (Mighty Ducks 2 style!).

Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton narrowly avoid career-ending injury in the second period when he was cut by Fernando Pisani's skate blade. Immediately, Thornton was leaking heavily and he left the game to receive 40 stiches on his head. If it had been a few inches lower, he could have lost an eye. Yikes.

Some joker/pseudo toughguy on the Blackhawks bench was chirping at Thornton as he skated off and Thornton nearly went over the boards to get the unknown party. You have to love Thornton.

Nathan Horton scored his 24th of the season (from Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell) at 5:20 of the third period to ensure Boston has a more firm grip on the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Horton showed patience and good hands by waiting out Crawford before tucking it behind him.

Thomas kept Chicago off the scoreboard and the Bruins walked away with one of their most satisfying wins of the regular season.

They host Toronto tomorrow night and have the opportunity to basically end the Maple Leafs' dim playoff chances with a win. Time to give Phil Kessel another embarrassing moment, it's not like he's had enough of them this season ("Hey Phil!"-last guy standing at the All-Star game fantasy draft).

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