Thomas: 'I'm on track to where I want to be'

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Thomas: 'I'm on track to where I want to be'

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com BruinsInsider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON Claude Julien wouldnt come right out and sayit over the last few days, but everybody and their mother knows thatTim Thomas will be between the pipes on Oct. 6 when the Bruins face theFlyers at TD Garden for NHL opening night.

But hellfirst get the nod in the final preseason tune-up against the New YorkIslanders Saturday night in Bridgeport at the home of the Isles AHLclub after facing only 20 shots in Thursday nights 2-1 loss to theSenators. While the 18-save game was a step up for Thomas after lettingup a couple of bad goals early in his preseason debut at the Gardenagainst the Isles, everyone knows that the 37-year-old can bebetter.

You knowthe plan is certainly to play him next game against the Islanders andsee where he is, said Claude Julien. If everything is good well makethose decisions in a week from now or a few daysbefore.

Thomas said hes on track to where hewants to be starting for the Bs on opening night, and doesnt need tosee 40 or 50 shots before proclaiming himself ready to start theregular season.

Its good to get experience with alot of shots on net and just a few shots on net, because its going tohappen at times. Even when there arent shots, you still get yourpractice out of games because youre still moving and youre stillfighting through traffic to see the pass, said Thomas. So when yourenot getting a lot of shots you focus on some of the other stuff. So ina way it can be better because when youre getting a ton of shots youdont have time to worry about anytechnique.

Thomas hasnt seemed concerned at allabout playing only a pair of preseason games as the Bruins are takingthe slow, cautious approach to their supremely talented goaltenderheading into this season, and alluded to last years 82 game workloadwhen saying he played in enough games lastyear.

The rest is certainly needed for a goaliethat didnt get a chance to truly push himself in the offseason afterwinning every goaltending award known to man. Thomas doesnt start theseason with much to prove, but has already voiced his desire to repeatas the Vezina Trophy winner, Conn Smythe Trophy winner and as theStanley Cup champion again next year.

He could pullall three and even make a run at the Hart Trophy if things go wellfor the Bruins and their goaltender this season, but hell need alittle help from Tuukka Rask as a capable understudy this season.

That whole journey begins after one last littletrip to an AHL rink on Saturday night for Thomas and the rest of theBruins.

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

Bruins defense struggles in 5-1 loss to Red Wings

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Bruins defense struggles in 5-1 loss to Red Wings

BOSTON – The Bruins are clearly getting the kinks out a couple of games into the preseason.

The B’s defense struggled all night, and allowed 39 shots on net and five goals in a 5-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden. The loss provides plenty of video material for the Boston coaching staff to look at over the next few days.

The Bruins actually started off well in the opening half of the first period, but then the bottom fell out when they couldn’t cash in on a power play chance. That led to a Ryan Spooner face-off penalty and then the Wings scoring on the power play to get things going. The Winged Wheels then scored on a Drew Miller-to-Steve Ott connection 19 seconds later to double Detroit’s lead, and really showed some collapse for the Bruins group on the ice Wednesday night.

Impressive youngster Austin Czarnik scored in the second period after a nice feed from Ryan Spooner crashing to the net, but that was the lone highlight for the Black and Gold against a Detroit team that was ready to go. Luke Glendening scored on a play right in front of the net in the second period as well, and Anthony Mantha made it a 4-0 lead for Detroit until Czarnik cracked the score sheet with his first goal of the preseason.

Drew Miller added a goal in the third period when Linus Arnesson vacated the front of the net to leave it wide open for the NHL veteran, and that was a pretty symbolic play for a Bruins group that never got a defensive foothold all evening. 

Mueller aims to take advantage of opportunity in tonight's Bruins-Wings game

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Mueller aims to take advantage of opportunity in tonight's Bruins-Wings game

BRIGHTON -- Tonight’s Bruins-Red Wings game against the Red Wings should be a big chance for training-camp invite Peter Mueller as he readies to skate in a second straight exhibition game after a quiet night in the opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

The former 22-goal scorer with the Coyotes felt he was “solid” and “held his own” while not getting any shots on neta againsy Columbus. The veteran winger feels like he’s again starting to pick up the NHL pace after spending the last three years in Europe, and that’s mandatory to start making plays. 

“It was a good adjustment, but hopefully tonight I show a little more skill, a few more pucks to the net and create some more offense,” said Mueller. “I would rather play in most of the [exhibition] games, to be honest with you, and to get in-game-like scenarios and prepare yourself for each and every game. In my position I’m happy that I’m playing tonight and hopefully I can keep trying to impress the people [making decisions].”

The 26-year-old former first-round pick will be in a favorable spot, skating in a possible third-line, right-wing audition with Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey. He'll also serve as another established player in a more veteran-laden lineup Wednesday night vs. the Winged Wheels at TD Garden. With Frankie Vatrano out for the next three months, these are the kind of chances Mueller needs to knock out of the park if he wants to fend off younger competition for one of those B’s roster spots up front. 

“It definitely favors the type of game I want to play,” said Mueller, when asked about the chance to skate in a spot with Spooner and Beleskey that he would likely fill whre he to crack the NHL roster. “With two skill guys, hopefully we can create some chemistry and some offense early and obviously that helps with the flow of the game. Hopefully I can just showcase my skills and the work ethic that I’m trying to bring to the team. Overall, hopefully we have a good game tonight.”

Sean Kuraly is also playing in his second straight exhibition, and will move over to the left wing skating with Austin Czarnik and left wing Zachary Senyshyn in what amounts to a kid line for the Bruins. One would expect the same goaltending rotation in this game, with Malcolm Subban getting the first two periods and Daniel Vladar getting the game’s final 20 minutes. Here are the line combos and D-pairings according to the rushes during morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena:
 
Beleskey-Spooner-Mueller
Kuraly-Czarnik-Senyshyn
Gabrielle-Moore-Ferlin
Blidh-Acciari-Hickman
 
Grzelcyk-McQuaid
Lauzon-C. Miller
Arnesson-Casto
 
Subban
Vladar