Thomas plays in ninth straight game vs. Pens

691426.jpg

Thomas plays in ninth straight game vs. Pens

PITTSBURGH It looks like the Boston Bruins mean business today.

On a day when the red-hot Ottawa Senators wont be playing and the Bruins will be losing one of their games in hand, the Bs are playing Tim Thomas in his ninth straight game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center.

The 37-year-old is 3-3-0 during the month of March with a .871 save percentage and a 3.21 goals against average, but the Bruins are pinning their hopes that Thomas can come up with another masterful performance against the Pens. Hes posted a .951 save percentage in two games against Pittsburgh already this season.

Rookie Max Sauve will also make his NHL debut playing in place of the injured Benoit Pouliot and it appears that Andrew Ference will also return to the lineup after missing five games with a lower body injury. The shifty, swift-skating Sauve had 17 points for the P-Bruins this season while missing a large chunk of time with a concussion.

Here is the projected lineup:

Lucic-Krejci-Seguin
Marchand-Bergeron-Caron
Rolston-Kelly-Sauve
MacDermid-Campbell-Thornton

Chara-Boychuk
Seidenberg-Corvo
Ference-McQuaid

Thomas
Turco

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

bruins_tuukka_rask_110315.jpg

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.