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Chicago Wasn't the Only Opponent

by Samantha Wood / Boston Bruins
Savard. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston, MA -- The Boston Bruins suffered a painful 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Tuukka Rask replaced goaltender Tim Thomas at the 10:13 mark in the second period, but by then Chicago already had a 3-2 lead and a hold on the game’s momentum.

When asked what went wrong, Thomas did not mince words: “Everything,” he said. “They were the better team by far.”

After the game, head coach Claude Julien explained his decision to pull Thomas, making sure to emphasize the brighter spots in an otherwise difficult game.

“Well obviously it wasn’t aimed at Timmy more than it was to probably stop the hemorrhaging -- if you can put it that way -- and we did,” said Julien. “I thought we battled and gave ourselves some opportunities, but having said that we know we have to play better.

“No ifs ands or buts about it, we’ve got some challenges, but we still have got to play better with the players that we have right now.”

The Bruins are facing some major challenges indeed.

Though forward Milan Lucic returned last night after missing 18 games due to a high-ankle sprain, other injuries plagued the roster. Andrew Ference (groin), Mark Stuart (broken sternum), and Byron Bitz (back) were all unable to play.

Not to mention Marc Savard’s knee injury in the first 28 seconds of the game, of which the severity has yet to be determined.

But it wasn’t the B’s depleted lineup that was the major factor in the Boston setback, and Thomas acknowledged the Blackhawks strength over the unbalanced B’s lineup.

“They’re a good team that played well,” said Thomas. “Tonight they did pretty much everything they wanted to.”

Boston doesn’t have much time to dwell on last night, however. They will host the New York Rangers (21-17-6) tomorrow afternoon at TD Garden. In preparation for that game, Julien said there will likely be a call-up today to add some depth to a roster that seems to get shorter by the day.

By 9:00 a.m. Friday morning, veteran forward Trent Whitfield was driving up snowy I-95 to join the Bruins at practice.

“I’m looking for players,” said Julien. “We’re hoping that we have some healthy competition, but right now it seems that…the theme this year with our hockey club has been ‘injury’ since the start of the year.”

Despite the grim situation, Julien assured the press that the B’s are up to the task.

“Let’s be honest here and realistic, those injuries are going to make it a challenge for us,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to stand up and face that challenge and use that as an excuse but it’s still there and it’s a reality of today’s game.”
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