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Bear Essentials: Game Day vs. NY Islanders

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
High above rink side, I am still in a melancholy mood. People were streaming into the pressroom today, and getting the sad news about Tom Johnson as they looked for him in his familiar spot. Like I wrote yesterday, it's too bad that real life has to show its ugly head. Win one for TJ, today Boys! JB

John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
Early morning update
Tim Thomas, he of the spectacular league leading save percentage (.941) and save percentage (2.05, good for 6th), will take on the New York Islanders in a matinee game rife with playoff standing implications. The Islanders, Bruins, Thrashers and Lightning are all tied with 22 points and know that even the slightest jostle will send them off the playoff pile.

One would guess that we will see another American in goal for the Isles. Rick DiPietro, of the Winthrop DiPietros, should be between the pipes for New York, however, with the Islanders dropping a 4-1 decision to Montreal on Wednesday, an appearance by Wade Dubielewicz is not out of the question.

Back-to-back games = Twice the fun?
Count Bruins head coach Claude Julien amongst the many who enjoy a good home at home series.

"It's not a bad thing," said Coach. "We saw it with Ottawa and it certainly builds, not a rivalry, but there is a little bit more tension…and it is a little more intense in that second game.

"There is always something that seems to carry over from the first (contest).

"And I don't mind those," he said.

There is one thing, in particular, that Coach Julien reminded everyone about.

"They are still in our conference," he said. "It doesn't matter if they are in our division or not…those games are just as important in my mind."

11:05 a.m.
Yesterday, after practice Coach Julien talked about segmenting a long 82-game schedule into more usable pieces, in terms of setting up goals.

"Throughout the whole season you have to find situations where you can try to give yourself a challenge," he said before noting that winning on the road is one of those areas.

"To me, a playoff team has to play .500 and up on the road and we have to get back into that pack and get those kind of numbers on the road.

"We have an opportunity to do that in the next nine games," he said.

11:17 a.m.
My guess on the lines...


11:36 a.m.
The D-men, according to warmups...


Timmy in goal.

Short one today...over to the Running Recap. Go Bruins!

12:12 p.m.
Make the second and third lines:


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