Thomas, Bruins looking for defensive turnaround

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Thomas, Bruins looking for defensive turnaround

TAMPA The Bruins get right back on the horse with the second-half of their Florida trip when they face off against Tampa Bay Lightning at the newly renamed Tampa Times Forum on Tuesday night. Things were much different for both teams the last time they met when the Bruins toppled the Bolts in overtime of a 1-0 instant classic win during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

It appears that seven-game playoff series didnt inspire the hockey hatred that could spark a rivalry as the players were going through an optional morning skate that featured a big game of hallway soccer.

The nice weather? was Dennis Seidenbergs response when asked what he remembered about last years playoff series. A lot has happened to us since then.

The Bruins went on to win the Cup, of course, and the Lightning have fallen on hard times with goaltending issues and defensive woes. The Bruins are an NHL-best plus-70 in goal differential while Tampa Bay sits dead last in the Eastern Conference with a minus-35 mark so the name of the game for Boston will be minimizing defensive mistakes and keeping the
high-powered Lightning off the power play.

Weve got to be careful we dont consider ourselves in a slump. Weve slipped a little bit, but our standards are pretty high, said Claude Julien. For a lot of players the compete level was better, but for others we expect it be a little better. You have to respect the offensive part of Tampas game. We have to make sure were ready to play a solid defensive game like in the past. Its what has given us our identity.

Tim Thomas will get the start for the Bruins in goal and once again Rich Peverley will miss his second straight game with personal matters. Hes still expected to meet up with the Bruins in New Jersey and be in the lineup when Boston takes on the Devils at the Prudential Center Thursday night.

Here is the expected lineup:

Pouliot-Bergeron-Seguin
Lucic-Krejci-Horton
Caron-Kelly-Hamill
Paille-Campbell-Thornton

Chara-Boychuk
Seidenberg-McQuaid
Ference-Corvo

Thomas
Rask

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars being released today. Amazing that the power and influence of the best movie franchise in cinematic history are just as strong today as it was four decades ago. I still remember my first time seeing it as a very little kid with my parents at the dearly departed Starlight Drive-In in North Reading.

*Good guy and recently fired Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Tim Army talks about a rough past season with the Avs, and some of the difficulties they faced in a truly terrible season. The former Providence College head coach and good hockey man shouldn’t have much trouble finding his next gig.

*A great move by the Arizona Coyotes, who have hired former Bruins forward Craig Cunningham as a pro scout after his awful medical situation last season that resulted in his leg getting amputated. Cunningham is a hard worker and a hockey lifer, and that’s exactly the kind of traits that the best scouts have in huge amounts.

*The New Jersey Devils have fired a number of employees after a rough season, including a groundbreaking radio analyst.

*With the ultra-competitive demand for an edge in NHL player development, teams are beginning to look to Europe for more and more diamonds in the rough. The Bruins tried that with Joonas Kemppainen, but it didn’t work out so well.

*One of the real big advantages of the Nashville Predators getting to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time is a national spotlight getting flashed on PK Subban, who shows off his personality in a rare ESPN interview of a hockey player featured on the network's magazine show.

*Ryan Johansen isn’t done talking smack to Ryan Kesler after the Predators prevailed over the Ducks, and it’s some delicious playoff hatred.

*Is the NHL ready to draft another goaltender with the last name DiPietro in the first round? Inquiring minds want to know, but I’d recommend the New York Islanders take a pass just in the name of avoiding a repeat of some bad history for them.

*Taylor Hall sounds pretty bitter about the whole “Edmonton Oilers getting into the playoff without him” thing, doesn’t he?

*For something completely different: As mentioned above, it’s a milestone birthday for the Star Wars franchise hitting 40 years old today. Boy, this Boston Globe movie review was right on the money back in 1977.