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Numbers Returning to "Normal"

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BostonBruins.com -- At 9-0-0, the Black & Gold's record in November is gaudy and more in line with what Boston Bruins fans are used to seeing after last season's Stanley Cup championship.


The B's now stand first in the Northeast Divsion with a 12-7-0 record, which also places them third in the Eastern Conference Playoff Standings and with a 9-1-0 docket over their last 10 contests, the B's are officially the hottest team in the NHL.

However, the Bruins know that they are lucky to be leaving Montreal with two points and their nine-game win streak intact.

"I just felt we played a little bit on our heels tonight," said Boston Head Coach Claude Julien. "But what you like about it is you find a way to win.

"Defensively we weren’t that bad and Tim (Thomas) was huge for us -- made some big saves -- so you take the win for what it is."

B's goaltender Tim Thomas, who has been impressive with the NHL's second best goals against average (1.77) and third best save percentage (.938) is now tied for the league lead in shutouts (3, with three others), but hasn't allowed a goal since New Jersey's Nick Palmieri scored at 6:56 of the third period in the B's 4-3 win over the Devils on November 15.

If you're scoring at home, that's 1:32:57 of shutout hockey for Thomas, who is on a personal six game winning streak since he dropped the decision in the B's October 27 loss (2-1) in Boston.

Of the victory, Thomas told bostonbruinsTV, "It was a good road game because we ended up with the win. Any time you end up with the win, it’s a good road game."

But that's not quite good enough for a team with higher aspirations.

"I’d say there’s a lot of things we could do better," said Thomas. "A lot of things weren’t clicking for us tonight...but we did what we had to do and we had big efforts from a lot of different people to get out of here with the two points."

Thomas was one of those "people" and gave off the impression that he was in clear control of his crease.

"Fortunately that was the impression I was trying to give off to Montreal, to make them not feel like they were getting close to scoring and it worked out," said Thomas who made several highlight reel saves during Monday's more intense moments.

"A couple of the saves ended up in my glove and just a quick whistle," said Tim. "Sometimes they bounce out and it gets all scrambly and it gets the other team hungry because they think they’re getting close to scoring, but tonight that didn’t happen."

That's probably because the players in front of Thomas rose to the occasion, especially during a double minor to end the first and begin the second periods, but also during a penalty with less than two minutes to go in the third.

"Their power play has been going a lot better, too, and we had to respect that," said Julien. "I thought our guys did a great job, especially killing that four minutes straight.

"I think that was probably an area that if we felt we could take care of that, it would certainly put the odds in our favor."

Of course, having a two-time Vezina Trophy-winner on his game doesn't hurt, either.

"He was solid," said Boston captain Zdeno Chara. "He was really patient with his positioning. I thought that he had a really strong game for us.

"There were few chances -- or few times -- that the puck was right there in the crease and there was a lot of whacks and hacks, but Timmy -- two times I even saw him drop the stick, just grab the puck with the blocker.

"He was really desperate to get that puck before anybody could get another whack."

For his part, Thomas gave another impression -- that Monday night was just another game.

"I don’t know," said Thomas when asked if Monday was the best he'd felt all season.

"I felt good at other parts. I’ve felt pretty good all season long. I have felt good the last couple days, I don’t know why - I’m just seeing the play well and reading what the other team’s options are.

"Right now I’ve just got a good feeling of that."

And that has to make Boston Bruins fans feel as good as they have since June.
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