Thomas looks fine for Bruins

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Thomas looks fine for Bruins

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- Whether or not Tim Thomass role changes this season, he looked like the Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goaltender from last season on Saturday night.

Thomass 25 saves against the Tampa Bay Lightning were crucial in the Boston Bruins 4-1 victory -- and their first win of the year.

To me, Timmy looked more like the Timmy we know, coach Claude Julien said after the game. He looked calm, he looked comfortable, and he made things look pretty easy. Even on the big saves, he was challenging well. To me, thats as close to last year as Ive seen Timmy was tonight, and he certainly played a solid game for us.

Thomas felt that way, too.

I feel similar to the way I felt at the beginning of last year, he said. I mean physically anyhow. I feel good, and its good not to be worrying about injuries.

While Tuukka Rask may get the nod soon, Thomas, 37, showed no signs of slowing down against the Lightning. His veteran experience also adds another to his presence between the pipes. When the Bruins and Lightning went scoreless in the first period in spite of 24 combined shots on goal, Thomas knew what he had to do to help his team get ahead in the game.

I realize the reality is when were getting chances and not scoring that the longer I can keep the other team off the board, the more of a chance it gives us because we just need to get that first one and theyll start rolling in, he said. But if you get down a couple while youre waiting for that first one, it gets to be pretty hard. I understand the reality, but I dont feel the pressure. Its the way I think of things.

Even when the Bruins took the lead, he knew letting up on defense was not an option. With a 2-1 lead, Thomas made an impressive save against Teddy Purcell 1:44 into the third period.

He's learned in the past that nothing is guaranteed until the buzzer sounds.

Im not thinking of one big save; Im thinking I have make some saves. Basically you never want to give the other team a sniff, he said. Weve learned our lessons over the years. I remember a game we were up by three goals with three minutes left against St. Louis and they tied it up and won in overtime. So that was quite a few years ago now, but it happened to us last year a couple times where teams came back on us. Weve got to play the full 60 minutes. Thats what we learned last year.

Following the game, Thomass teammates praised his defensive performance.

Timmy made a lot of big saves at the right time, said Brad Marchand. He seems to be great at doing that. He always gives us an opportunity to win. And when he comes up with saves like that, it build a lot of momentum and really gives us a lot of confidence that we can go out and kind of pay him and get a couple of goals and get the lead. If it wasnt for him, we might not have won that game.

Zdeno Chara echoed, Timmy had again a strong game. Especially in the third, he made that blocker save, that was big. Thats what you need, that kind of strong goaltending in crucial times of the game. So he gave us a chance.

Regardless of how many games Thomas starts this season, his teammates know what to expect from him when hes on the ice.

Hes still the same Timmy, said Chara. He competes and hes playing well.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comJCameratoNBA

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- The Bruins are going through a nice, little bountiful stretch of offense right now after a half-season of struggle.

The Bruins are averaging more than three goals per game in their last 12 contests, and have scored a whopping 22 goals in their last six games including dropping six scores on the Flyers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Combine that with the 7-for-25 performance on the power play during the month of January, and things are finally starting to catch up with a Bruins team that was all shoot/no score for months of frustrating hockey this season.

“If you want sustained success then you have to be good defensively, but you also have to score some goals. That’s definitely part of it and we have to keep it going,” said Patrice Bergeron, who has four goals and eight points in his last nine games after struggling out of the starting gate. “You’re not going to get rewarded every night like we did [against the Flyers], but you have to find that consistency where you’re close to having that every night.”

One thing nobody should expect out of the B’s, however, is to get outside of what they do well now that they’ve started slapping some numbers up on the board. Instead the Bruins are intent on their bedrock of disciplined defense and sensational goaltending with the added offense just making it much tougher to beat them these days.

“I don’t know if we can stand here and say we’re going to sustain that we’re scoring lots of goals. I think what we need to sustain here is winning more games than we lose,” said Claude Julien. “That’s what we’ve got to sustain. Whether it’s a 1-0 or 2-1 game, or it’s a 5-2 or 5-3 game it doesn’t really matter. It’s about winning hockey games much more than it’s about how much you scored, and how much you don’t score.

“Overall when I look at the scoring chances we’re giving up per game, that doesn’t seem to have changed. Goals allowed may have changed a little bit lately, but overall I think we’ve been very steady in that area [of defense].”

So now the Bruins will again be looking for that ideal balance of offense/defense when they take the ice against the Islanders on Monday afternoon for their second straight matinee at TD Garden. 

Morrow has 'confident feeling' as he readies to jump into B's lineup

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Morrow has 'confident feeling' as he readies to jump into B's lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It’s been a long month of bag skates and lonely practices for Bruins defenseman Joe Morrow.

That’s about to change thanks to injuries to both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller, who are both not expected to be able to play against the New York Islanders on Monday afternoon at TD Garden. That means Morrow will be in the B’s lineup for the first time since a Dec. 12 win over the Montreal Canadiens, a span of 16 consecutive B’s games that the 24-year-old has been watching from the press box.

Morrow skated in a pairing with John-Michael Liles in Sunday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena prior to Monday’smatinee, and obviously he’s looking forward to getting back into games given this season’s sporadic practice schedule.

“[Playing well after sitting for long stretches] isn’t necessarily something you want to be good at, but if you are good at then it’s a good tool to have in your bag. It’s a confident feeling that I’ll be able to come in [and play well],” said Morrow, who has an assist and a minus-3 rating in 13 games for the Black and Gold this season. “I’ve stayed in good shape and worked hard in practice, and that’s all I can do up until this point.

“Put simply, [this year’s compacted schedule] is exhausting. Countless times I’ve skated by myself, and anybody would tell you there’s nothing harder than skating by yourself on a sheet of ice. Mentally and physically it’s just exhausting. There haven’t been many practices and there haven’t been many game-type situations in the practices we do have. Skating with the whole team is almost like a pregame skate scenario. But you’re still skating every day, so it’s putting it upon yourself to go out there and stay ready for things.”

The one issue for Morrow, a former first round pick, over the last couple of seasons has been maintaining a high level of play once he draws his way into the lineup. It feels like there’s a drop-off in his play once he’s played a few games in a row whether it’s physical mistakes or mental lapses in his play, and that’s something he wants to avoid when given an opportunity to suit up.

“I feel like when I have played this year that I’ve been quite consistent and that I’ve played well,” said Morrow, the last remaining part of the 2013 Tyler Seguin trade still in a Bruins uniform. “I’m just in a situation that the cards are playing out the way that they are, so it depends on how many games I get whether it’s one, two, 30 or however many games are left [in the season]. It’s realistically entirely up to me. If I can shake the rust out in the first couple of shifts and start from there, it’s going to be a big positive in my book. It’s the really the only option I have left now.”

Given that Colin Miller began skating on his own on Sunday morning, it might not be a very big window for Morrow to impress upon the coaches just how badly he wants to play. But one would expect he’s going to bring his best on Monday against the Isles with the hopes that it will be somebody else sitting up in the press box when it once again becomes a D-man numbers game for the 7-8 players for six lineup spots.