Notes: Thomas can't beat Quick


Notes: Thomas can't beat Quick

By JoeHaggerty

LOS ANGELES Tim Thomas might not have known that Jonathan Quick was born and bred as a New Englander when asked about his goaltending counterpart after Monday nights 2-0 loss to the Kings at the Staples Center.Its pretty clear that the Connecticut resident and former UMass standout gets all kinds of jacked up to play the Bruins team he grew up watching while living in a neighboring state, and Quick improved to 5-0 in his career against the Black and Gold after a 34 save shutout Monday.Thomas was pretty good in his own right while making 32 saves for the Bruins including a couple of beauties against Michael Handzus and Jarret Stoll but hasnt managed to beat the Kings in any of his last five appearances against Quick backed by hockey royalty."If we scored, that could have been a momentum changer and probably the whole game is different, said Tim Thomas. "He Quick always seems to play a good game against me. I don't know if he gets his rivalry juices up, but having said that they scored both their goals on the doorstep.Thomas then went to articulate how little a price was being paid by the forwards crashing the net and the defensemen pinching down in a shutout defeat that featured no sustained offense from the Bruins. Thomas saw the fortunate bounces all the way from the opposite side of the ice, but there were no crashing, hustling teammates ready to take advantage of them.I can't remember a doorstep chance that we got off a rebound or a puck laying there. The chances were there, but we weren't there." Shawn Thornton recognized the dull edge to his team early in the game, and picked a fight with Kings winger Kyle Clifford that turned into an extended bout between the two combatants. Both players traded some pretty good blows before skating to their respective dressing rooms.Unfortunately Blake Wheeler waswhistled ona questionableholding the stick penalty minutes later that wiped out any possible momentum gain from Thorntons fisticuffs. Monday night was Bostons first shutout loss since a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 20. By the end of Mondays loss the fourth line and Patrice Bergerons line were kept intact, and things had been shuffled so that Blake Wheeler, Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton were skating together and Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Michael Ryder were paired together on a top scoring line.Its understandable that it would take a game or two for each of the forward combinations to gel together in the absence of Marc Savard, but anybody watching the game could see it was about paying the price. In Bostons case it was about being unwilling to pay the price for goals and offense after spending four days on the West Coast.I dont think there was much offense from any line, said Julien. There was just nothing. You couldnt get anything out of any of the lines offensively. The Bruins were 0-for-3 on the power play with little flow or movement in a Marc Savard-less world, and only managed six shots on net in those man advantage chances. This will be the most difficult adjustment without No. 91 around to help distribute the puck on Bostons special teams opportunities.One had to wonder if part of Mondays lifeless vibe had to do with the team learning of Savard's diagnosis in the hours leading up to puck drop, but one Bruins player assured that had nothing to do with what happened on the ice. It appears the LA Kings adopted a game plan that may become more prevalent with Steve Kampfer as time goes on: Hit Kampfer hard and hit him often. Every chance the Kings had, that's what they did to the slick defenseman. Dustin Brown blasted him up high with a shoulder to the head area in the corner that shook Kampfer up during the second period, and slowed him down a bit in a few shifts following that. The more success Kampfer has, the more hes going to be met with that punishing physicality and need to succeed in spite of that. The NHL announced today that goaltender Tim Thomas has been named the First Star of the Week, for the week ending January 22. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos and New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur are the second and third stars, respectively.Thomas won all three of his starts last week for the Bruins, going 3-0-0 with one shutout and allowed just four goals on 106 shots (.962 save percentage). He made 31 saves in the clubs 7-0 win over the Hurricanes on Monday, January 17 and followed that up with a 43-save performance during Bostons 3-2 win over Carolina on Tuesday. Thomas finished his week with a 32-save effort in Colorado on Saturday.For the season, Thomas currently leads all NHL goaltenders in goals against average, save percentage and is tied for the league lead in shutouts with seven. This is his third separate Star honor of the season, as he was named the First Star of the Week (October 31) and Second Star of the Month (October) earlier this year.The Boston Bruins Foundation will donate 1,000 in Thomas name to the childrens charity of his choice the second time this season that Thomas has been the First Star and earned a donation to his charity of choice.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON -- Malcolm Subban still believes he can be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that sort of sheer, brazen self-confidence is admirable -- especially after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden Tuesday -- pretty much all the evidence points to the contrary. Given a shot because of injuries to Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, nearly two years after getting pulled from his only other NHL appearance when he gave up three goals on six shots in St. Louis, Subban was taken out Tuesday night after allowing three goals on eight second-period shots.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone afterwards, a testament to his maturity and mental toughness.

“It sucks," said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one . . . but what can you do now, right?

"Obviously I want to be a No. 1 goaltender in the league. I was a [first-round draft choice] for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it . . . I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts, combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft have proven their worth and advanced to the elite level: Matt Murray. Frederik Anderson. Connor Hellebuyck. Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly Tuesday in his first chance to do so.

Hampered by a Bruins team not playing well in front of him, the first goal he allowed was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third was a softie low and to the glove side, a power-play strike authored by Ryan Suter. Instead of hanging in and giving his team a chance to win, Subban helped put the Bruins in a hole they couldn't escape.

While Claude Julien felt the poor performance "could be a combination" of goaltending and overall defensive lapses, he didn't let Subban off the hook.

“There are some goals -- I’m not going to lie -- there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had," said the coach.

But he also wasn't going to place the blame solely at Subban's feet.

"[I’m] not here to talk about a goaltender -- who’s in one of his first few games -- because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him . . .  and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough. Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide-open shots from the slot -- like the Chris Stewart score in the second period 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal -- are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player (Subban) who should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first-round pick in 2012. Anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after his two Bruins appearances. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first-round bust rather than a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer if Rask can’t make a rapid recovery from his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and, to be fair, the three goals allowed to Minnesota weren't all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that he should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie who'd been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, one who's never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.