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Notebook: B's 2-1 Over Islanders

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
With fans decked out in green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday – including green Bruins hats, the game-day giveaway from TD Banknorth – the sold-out Garden looked like the crowd from last night’s Celtics game hadn’t quite cleared out before the B’s took the ice.

Even though the holiday isn’t until Tuesday, the luck o’ the Irish was with the Black & Gold during Saturday afternoon’s 2-1 win over the New York Islanders.

Thirty for #30
The win was goaltender Tim Thomas’s 30th of the season, which matches his career high from the 2006-07 season. He made 21 saves against the Isles.

“I was happy to get there,” he said shortly after the game on Saturday. “Wins come a little slower now than they were at the beginning of the year, but it’s nice to hit another marker.”

As far as achieving any other benchmarks this season, the B’s netminder said that he has nothing in mind, at least not in the way of posting any other record numbers.

“Not numerically like that. Just want to finish up strong –– just like the team –– so that you’re feeling good by yourself heading into the playoffs.”

Thomas has played 46 games and now has a 30-10-6 record. He also leads the NHL with his goals-against average (2.08 before this afternoon’s game) and save percentage (.932, also before this game).

The last five 30-win seasons by Bruins goaltenders were Thomas (2006-07), Byron Dafoe (1997-98, 1998-99, and 2001-02 seasons) and Jon Casey (1993-94).

Another Big 3-0
Phil Kessel’s goal at 3:16 of the first period marked the forward’s 30th goal of the season, giving him the first 30-goal season of his career.

The goal, shot almost from his knees on the left side of Yann Danis’ net, came on the first shot of the game. It was Kessel’s seventh “first-goal” of the season for Boston.

The 21-year old is now Boston’s first 30-goal scorer since the 2005-06 season, which was when forward Patrice Bergeron notched 31.

Assists on the goal went to Steve Montador and Andrew Ference, giving the former the first point of his Bruins career in his fourth game for the team.

“It’s always nice to see those guys accomplish those things,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “Phil has been playing better as of late, competing harder and winning his fair share of battles for the puck, and that’s the thing that keeps his game going in the right direction.

“Timmy, well, he’s been pretty good for us all year, and then, like everybody else, he did hit a little bit of, I’m not going to say a slump, because he never has been in that, but he’s found more of his sharpness that he had until maybe a few weeks ago, where the confidence level from both our goaltenders took a little bit of a beating.”

Two Shots, Two Goals
The B’s went two-for-two a little over a minute after Kessel’s goal, when a pass from Kessel to forward Marc Savard found its way into the Islanders net at 4:21. Zdeno Chara also earned an assist on the goal.

Kessel’s assist gives him a total of four points in his last two games (three goals, one assist). Savard now has three points in his last two (one goal, two assists), and 13 points in his last 11 games.

The goal also ended a 15-game goalless streak for Savvy. It was his first goal since Feb. 7 in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Notes: The Bruins are in the midst of their 14th of 16 sets of back-to-back games. Tomorrow the club takes on the Pittsburgh Penguins at 3:00 p.m. They are 11-2-1 in the first game of these series and enter tomorrow’s game with a 9-2-2 record in the second game…Boston has killed off nine straight penalties and 22 of their last 30 shorthanded situations.
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