Thomas on track for a repeat performance

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Thomas on track for a repeat performance

Tim Thomas didnt have the show-stopping roll to start this season that he did last year, but then again, he didnt really need to. Thomas had to win back his starting gig with the Bruins heading into last season, but this year there was little to prove after becoming only the second goalie in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe and Vezina Trophy all in the same season.

Despite not being pushed to win his job back, Thomas is still riding an eight-game winning streak, and coming off a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets that featured a 16-save third period.

He did a very good job in the end and helped his team to get the win, said Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec. We have to be better in front of the net, a lot of loose pucks there and we have to work on that. When the team needed a save Thomas made it. That's why he's the best.

Thomas had 40 saves in all, spearheading the Bruins to a win. And he had help from his teammates. Adam McQuaid made a leaping effort to bat away a floating puck that seemed destined to land in the net beyond a prone Thomas, and Johnny Boychuk blocked three shots to a protect the 4-2 lead Saturday night.

"Winnipeg was our third game in four nights. We have had a good clip of games, said Thomas. I was tired and I think we showed it at times at the beginning. But we battled through it and got stronger and stronger. That was a big win. I was just trying to battle through it. I have been in those situations before.

The solid net performance leaves Thomas with an 11-4 record as the end of November approaches along with a 1.86 goals against average and a .937 save percentage. He also has three shutouts. The 37-year-old Bs goalie has appeared in 16 games thus far for the Bruins with 15 starts.

The amazing part for Thomas and the Bruins?

Bs coach Claude Julien has spoken about getting Thomas a bit more rest this season after the Bruins puck-stopper played an amazing 82 games last year between the regular season and playoffs. But Thomas has played in 15 games through the first two months of last season, so the Bs goaltender has actually played more this year in his season of "rest."

The Bruins are expected to play Tuukka Rask much more as the schedule really bogs down with three or four games each week, which should allow Thomas to rest before the playoffs.

Thomas held a crazy .951 save percentage last season through the first two months, but his record was a nearly identical 11-3-1 through October and November last season after ripping off seven straight wins to start the season. So perhaps Thomas was a little better last year, but the Bs goalie is once again off to a campaign that appears to be special.

Itll likely take a little more rest and relaxation down the stretch this season than it did last year for the aging Bs goalie, but Thomas hasnt seemed to miss a beat from last season after such a short layoff.

Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

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Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while hoping everybody on this Memorial Day takes some time to appreciate all of those that made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. We should also take a moment to say thanks to people like the three heroes in Oregon that stood up to a hateful bigot earlier this week, and in doing so reaffirmed what the majority of people living in the US believe we are all about while trying to live up to that ideal every day.
 
-- A number of NHL legends are shaking their heads at the dirty play that we’re seeing in these playoffs, particularly those plays targeting the superstars that people pay big money to see in the postseason. Why should anybody be shocked by this? The rooting out of enforcers, and fighting, has taken accountability out of the game for the cheap-shot artists and dirty players, and leaves little real deterrant for players looking to take out opponents with dangerous plays. I wrote about this a couple of years ago when the NHL threw the book at Shawn Thornton for going after Brooks Orpik, and in doing so chose to protect somebody trying to hurt opponents (Orpik) and punish somebody trying to protect his teammates (Thornton). It was a sea change for the league, and something players didn’t forget as more and more enforcers were quickly weeded out of the NHL. This is what the rule-makers and legislators wanted, and now it’s what they’re getting just a couple of years later with dangerous stick-work, cheap shots and a general lack of respect for fellow players.
 
-- Here's why the Tampa Bay Lightning would consider trading a player like Jonathan Drouin, and the major impact that could have on the offseason trade market.
 
-- Down Goes Brown has a Stanley Cup Final rooting guide for the other 28 other fan bases now that Nashville and Pittsburgh are in the final series.

-- So which goaltender has the edge in the Stanley Cup Final: Nashville's Pekka Rinne, or Pittsburgh's two-headed monster of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury?
 
-- Scotty Bowman says winning back-to-back Stanley Cup titles has become monumentally difficult since the advent of the salary cap.
 
-- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are pushing each other to be betters, and showing exactly how a team should be led by its superstars in the salary-cap era for the league.
 
-- For something completely different: We can confirm through this report that a lot of hot dogs are eaten in the summertime. So glad we have people to research these kinds of things.
 

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.