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.

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

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Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic.