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Finding Ways to Come Out on Top

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins -- It’s been a wild ride for the Bruins since their 3-7 tumultuous October start, which left them sitting at fifteenth in the Eastern Conference.

The team hasn’t had a regulation loss since Oct. 29, piling on 14 wins and a shootout loss to move to the top of the Northeast division, and at the heart of the surge is the Stanley Cup MVP Tim Thomas.

Thomas is unbeaten in his last 10 starts, and last night he stopped 45 shots against the Pittsburgh Penguins, anchoring the B’s 3-1 victory. With the win, the team sits just one point behind the Pens in the Eastern Conference.

But the veteran netminder was quick to credit his teammates with the squad’s success over the last month.

“We’ve done a good job of coming to play and coming to find a way to win,” Thomas said. “We’re going to do it different ways with different guys, but all of us together at the same time. It’s been pretty nice to be a part of this team the last month.”

There’s no question Thomas was sharp in last night’s win, but so was Claude Julien’s defense.

The Bruins killed two 5-on-3 power plays –- both in the second period –- against a dangerous team with scorers like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and Thomas praised their efforts.

“The killers did a great job – all of them,” Thomas said. “The game could have totally changed momentum and [the Penguins] could end up winning the game.”

Defenseman Zdeno Chara said the defense was really focused before the game, and was prepared for the Penguins attack.

“We always take a lot of pride in our defensive game and the offense comes from it,” Chara said.  “Anytime you kill two 5-on-3’s in a game, it gives you a really big jump and such a lift. I thought we did a really good job taking away what they tried to do and really not to give them some quality passes or shots.”

Bruins forward Gregory Campbell, who is joined by Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton on the fourth line, helped bring the offense Chara hoped would come after the defensive efforts.

Campbell’s goal, which was his second on the season, sparked a two-goal second period that allowed the B’s to take a commanding lead into the final frame after a scoreless first frame.

“We work hard game-in, game-out, and it probably takes us 10 to 20 more chances than most lines to score a goal,” Campbell said. “So it’s a good feeling, especially against a team like this to get on the board.”

Thomas said it’s the collective team play and chemistry that is fueling the defending Stanley Cup champions after a tough October run, and there is no sign of slowing down.

“There’s been times where we felt out of exactly how we wanted to play a couple of times during this streak,” Thomas said. “But then at the same time, guys came through with big nights and bailed us out.

"That’s what makes a good team. Not everybody’s going to feel their best every night, but as long as everybody doesn’t feel their best on the same night, then we’re finding a way to come out on top.”

---Anthony Gulizia
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