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Tuning Up for Tampa Bay

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
A pretty serious locker room this morning…

Tim Thomas was smiling, but Tim Thomas is pretty much always smiling.

This is going to sound very familiar, but why mess with a streak: The Bruins know what is going on in the Eastern Conference world and they know how important the next few games are to their playoff hopes.

Looking at the standings and this weekend’s match ups, as well as the Montreal and Toronto games next week, we see teams that are within striking distance of a Bruin hot streak.

Place, Team, Games Played, Pts
1.* Buffalo, 24, 40
2.* Atlanta, 26, 34
3.* NYR, 25, 29
4. Montreal, 23, 31
5. Toronto, 26, 30
6. Carolina, 26, 29
7. NYI, 23, 27
8. Tampa Bay, 25, 27
9. New Jersey, 23, 26
10. Pittsburgh, 23, 26
11. Ottawa, 25, 25
12. Boston, 22, 24
13. Washington, 24, 24
14. Florida, 26, 21
* Indicates division leader

Keeping in mind the Bruins games in hand and the possibilities get pretty intense.

Perhaps that is why today’s room was as businesslike, relatively speaking, as its been after a win.

Sure, when the team loses, the guys get a little tight, but today there was a seriousness of purpose.

"We’ve had a couple of big wins on the road," said Wayne Primeau. "Then we come back here to play Tampa…and we just have to make sure that we are ready for the start.

"They have a lot of offensive guys over there and we know that. But we can’t let down.

"We have to continue to move forward and keep grabbing wins and climbing the standings," he said.

As many of the older Bruins have said, Boston is still learning how to win.

"A lot of the close games we were in, early on, we were finding ways to lose," said Primeau. "Now we are finding ways to win.

"A lot comes down to goaltending and Timmy’s…making the key saves every game.

"And when you get the goaltending that he is giving us that gives us confidence and [that confidence] just grows," said Wayne.

Thomas agreed.

"We’re building," he said. "The beginning of the year, we were trying to start from ground zero. And then we started to build and worked our way up.

"It’s not always a pure straight-up," said Thomas pantomiming a line graph. "There are ups and downs, but I think that lately we’ve been moving up and we’ve kind’ve found a level that we need to play at to have success.

"And so, every game, our goal will to try to be at that level or above -- and not fall below it."

Yorkie is an ice-bound dirt dog
"I’m just going to go out and play my game," said Jason York this morning after the skate. "I’m going to try and help the team to win.

"I’m a little banged up, but once the game starts, you forget about those things and adrenaline takes over.

Somebody was asking me if I was at 100%," laughed York. "I haven’t been 100% since I was 25."

York, 36, is the oldest man on the Boston squad and enjoys his role as mentor and player.

"I like it," said York, "I don’t play the minutes that ’Z’ plays or some of the other guys, but I just want to go out on the ice, when I have a chance, and keep things simple and do what I can to make good plays.

"And if anybody has anything they want to talk about, experiences, I am always there.

"That’s what I try to do," he said.

And as long as he can, York is going to keep on playing.

"Especially when you win, or get on a little bit of a roll, I tell the guys playing in the NHL is the best job in the world when you win," he said. "The feeling is so good.

"We’re starting to get a real positive attitude around here and we want to keep that.

"That’s why I play the game. Obviously, to still play -- but to WIN," said York.

Voices in the room
"[Paul Mara] is unavailable. We’ll find out more tomorrow on whether he’ll make the trip or not."
Head Coach, Dave Lewis, on Mara’s status for this weekend

"My sweating was up. It must be the humidity -- or maybe I shouldn’t have had the pound cake yesterday."
Goalie, Tim Thomas, after sweating out another practice

"I think that the last couple of games, that we haven’t tried to do as much. We’re supporting each other better and we’re reading off each other better and making things a little more simple -- instead of trying to do too much. I think when you are struggling offensively you squeeze your stick a little more and you try to do a little too much and sometimes that can backfire. Now, we’re just going to try and keep playing and do anything it takes to help the team win."
"[Paul Mara] is unavailable. We’ll find out more tomorrow on whether he’ll make the trip or not."
Forward, Wayne Primeau, on his line’s recent success
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