VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -Boston coach Claude Julien didn't waste any time picking his starting goaltender against Vancouver.
After watching Tim Thomas backstop the Bruins to a 1-0 win against Edmonton on Monday night, Julien ended his back-and-forth goalie rotation. He passed over Manny Fernandez and gave Thomas a second straight start. The decision paid immediate dividends.
Michael Ryder scored his second goal of the season midway through the first period and Thomas made the best of his 31 saves in the frame en route to a second 1-0 win in two nights, leading the Bruins over the Canucks.
"As soon as the game was over Monday, I knew who I was going with," Julien said after Boston's third straight win. "Not only did he get a shutout, but he played well. When I say something I keep my word, and my word is, if somebody is going to get hot, he's going to get the chance to take the ball and run with it."
Thomas, who split the first eight games with Fernandez before making 27 saves in the overtime win over the Oilers, did just that. He credited playing the night before for several early stops against the Canucks less than 24 hours later.
"They got some chances right off the bat, so maybe it was a good thing I played last night because I didn't have the shakiness that you have sometimes when you don t play in a while," said Thomas, who came in with a .932 save percentage.
He got a shoulder on Alex Burrows' blast on the opening shift and a blocker on Henrik Sedin's shot during a 3-on-1 rush. That save came just before Ryder scored the only goal midway through the first period on a delayed penalty. After the goal, Thomas stopped Ryan Kesler three times in tight and closed his pads just in time to thwart Daniel Sedin's breakaway before the end of the first.
Roberto Luongo made 29 saves for the Canucks, who have lost four of five.
"At the end of the day, our top offensive players have to find a way to score goals," said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who credited the Bruins for a tough, tight-checking road win, but took issue with their only goal.
Ryder scored after Luongo poked the loose puck away from the top of the crease. That could have triggered a whistle, but it never came and the puck went right to Ryder alone in the slot. He snapped a shot through a crowd in front.
Vigneault, however, was upset the whistle didn't blow when Boston originally dumped the puck in, arguing the play should've been stopped for icing.
"The linesman blew it," Vigneault said, adding Luongo's poke check wasn't enough to blow the play dead. "It can't just be a touch, it has to be possession."
Thomas wasn't tested often in the second period, but stopped Sami Salo's blast from the high slot early in the third. He sprawled to take an empty net away from Henrik Sedin on a power play, and stopped Mason Raymond from the slot with 4:40 left, preserving his ninth career shutout.
The Bruins, who went into Edmonton on Monday with the NHL's worst-ranked, penalty-killing record, turned aside all three power plays for a second straight night.
Thomas credited his teammates for clearing the lanes so he could see most shots, and blocking the ones he couldn't.
"The composure we kept in the third was awesome," said Thomas, who also blanked the Canucks in their only other meeting, a 39-save, 2-0 win on Dec. 21, 2006. "Hopefully it gives us confidence that in tight games we can come out with the win, whether it s 4-3 or 1-0."
Notes: Salo was back after missing three games due to a groin injury. ... It was the first hometown game for second-year Bruins LW Milan Lucic, who estimated he'd have 100 friends and family in the stands. Lucic was MVP of the Vancouver Giants Memorial Cup junior hockey title in 2007, but his championship ring was stolen from his family's home last summer. The team presented him with a new one after the morning skate. ... Boston concludes its three game Western Canadian trip in Calgary Thursday. ... This was the teams' first meeting in Vancouver since Dec. 4, 2005.
|Michael Ryder (2) ASST: Marco Sturm (4), Marc Savard (8)|
1 - 0 BOS
|Mattias Ohlund Tripping against Blake Wheeler|
|Andrew Ference Holding against Taylor Pyatt|
|Mark Stuart Hooking against Jannik Hansen|
|Shane O'Brien Tripping against David Krejci|
|Aaron Ward Hooking against Daniel Sedin|