Notes: Thomas ready to take on the Bell Centre

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Notes: Thomas ready to take on the Bell Centre

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON, Mass. Tim Thomas is raring to go against the Montreal Canadiens.

He knows his career numbers against Montreal are among the worst he has against any team, and his body of work at the Bell Centre is less than stellar. Hes 10-14-4 with a 3.05 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage in 28 career games against the Habs.

Despite all of that, along with the hate expected to be brewing on the ice, Thomas thinks hes thoroughly ready to go against a Habs team that should bring the best out of him a scary thought for Canadiens players looking for weaknesses in the game of a goalie that set an NHL record with a .938 save percentage this season.

It gets me into the game. I generally have problems with the teams that are overly nice to me, which is kind of weird. When everybody is just playing hockey the way you need to do to get wins, it just helps me get into the game, said Thomas. It happens in most series no matter who youre playing against. At this time of year whoever the team is lined up against you, thats the team you have to go through in order to get to your goal. Thats the way were going to approach it.

Thomas, 36, admitted that he used to get too keyed up to play at the Bell Centre during playoff games against the Canadiens when he would really drink in the frenzied atmosphere around him. But he quickly realized he cant do that and also be ready to play against a team with such talented offensive playmakers as Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri and P.K. Subban.

We have quite a few guys that have played there in playoff atmospheres, and hopefully that works out for us, said Thomas. The Bell Centre was never disorienting or dizzying. It can be one of the most fun places to play. Its just got a lot of energy and youve got to channel it to the good.

Sometimes you have to block the energy so you remain focused and calm, and other times you can use the energy. The atmosphere can make it easier or harder. Its usually up to you. During the national anthems theres a lot of energy and its really loud. My first year there in the playoffs I was trying to really take in the atmosphere and stuff, but then when they first dropped the puck it really messed me up for the first few minutes of the game at least.

Thomas said he has indeed played in the Lake Placid rink before, as part of the ECAC tournament finals when he played goaltender for the University of Vermont. Thomas was looking forward to spending a couple of days at the former US Olympic site between Games Three and Four in Montreal.

The college Catamounts simply drove in and out of the rink when he played there.

I hadnt put to much thought into it until I was asked about it. It ought to be interesting to go to the site of 1980 Miracle on Ice, said Thomas. It looks like Ill have a little more time to walk around the town. It was the biggest influence on my life as a hockey player, by far.

Itll be a place to get away outside of Montreal. Zdeno Chara probably wont need a security guard there than he would be in Montreal. Its a lot better than being in Montreal and being a part of the circus.

Tyler Seguin isnt expected to play, at least at the start of the series, and coach Claude Julien hopes the youngster takes something from the first games or two against the Canadiens that he may be able to potentially use on the ice later in Bostons playoff run.

This is a chance for him to grow no matter how he plays or how much he doesnt play, said Seguin. There is something to be learned while being a part of a team in the playoffs.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing some early Christmas shopping ahead of the late rush. 

*Mike Zeisberger sits down with a quartet of NHL governors and discusses a number of hot topics including the Vegas franchise and scoring around the league. 

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has been removed from the NHL Board of Governor’s Executive Committee amid rumors that the Canes might be a prime candidate for relocation. 

*Pierre McGuire weighs in on Connor McDavid’s war of words on the ice and Carey Price losing his mind in the crease against the New Jersey Devils. To that end, Wayne Gretzky liked seeing McDavid get a little combative at such a young age. 

*The New York Islanders signed Cal Clutterbuck to a five year contract extension, and some are skeptical it will turn out well for the Isles.

*David Pastrnak is a premier scoring threat in the league, and Scott Cullen has some details behind that. I will say this: his stock falling in the draft had less to do with his size or heaviness, and more to do with him being concussed for a long stretch of time during the year leading up to the draft. 

*The Florida Panthers are really struggling to stay positive with a 1-5-0 record since the ownership group and management decided to fire Gerard Gallant. 

*For something completely different: Baywatch stars then and now.