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Thomas hopes Bruins can rebound from loss to Flyers

by Mike G. Morreale
Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas views Tuesday night's matchup with the San Jose Sharks as just another measuring stick during the course of an 82-game season.

The biggest challenge, in his eyes, is finding out how well his club will rebound coming off Saturday's overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

"As a team, our challenge, is to bounce back strong and show our character and come up with a good effort," Thomas said. "Knowing that (San Jose) is the No. 1 team in the Western Conference, it's not going to be easy. You only get to play these teams very rarely and this is the only opportunity this year. So, you know, I'll go along with the media in that it's another measuring stick."

The Sharks' visit to the TD Banknorth Garden is their first since a 6-2 victory on Jan. 10, 2006.
Former Bruins captain Joe Thornton, who was traded to San Jose in November 2005, was ejected less than six minutes into the game for checking his close friend, Hal Gill, from behind.

The Sharks certainly hope history doesn't repeat itself as Thornton has 57 points in 50 games and is a plus-21 this season.

The Bruins hold a 13-5-5 lead in the all-time series with San Jose with an 81-63 scoring edge in those 23 games.

The Bruins (39-8-7) lead the League with 85 points, which includes a 19-3-4 mark at home. The Sharks (36-6-7) are second in the NHL with 79 points. The club sports an impressive 13-5-4 record on the road.

The premier game of the night is one of seven matchups slated for Tuesday, including a pair of divisional showdowns when Detroit visits Nashville and Atlanta travels to Tampa Bay.

Here are some interesting tidbits heading into Tuesday night's action:

* The Bruins have scored the opening goal in 32 of their 54 games this season and are 24-4-4 when tallying first. Phil Kessel has notched five of those initial goals.

* The Nashville Predators own the top-ranked penalty kill on home ice in the NHL at 87.9 percent. At the Sommet Center, the penalty killers have gone 36-for-37 (97.3 percent) since Dec. 11, with the lone goal against coming Jan. 19 against New Jersey. Overall, the penalty-killing unit is ranked sixth in the League at 84.6 percent and has given up just seven power-play goals in its last 25 times shorthanded. The last three goals the PK has allowed were during 5-on-3 disadvantages.

* The Red Wings currently have the top-ranked power play in the NHL at 27.6 percent, scoring at least one power-play goal in eight straight road games. During the last five games, Detroit has gone 6-for-22 on the power play. The Wings are led by Pavel Datsyuk, who has tallied nine times on the power play.

* Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis has certainly had his share of success against Tuesday night's opponent, the Atlanta Thrashers. During the past three games, he has posted 4 goals and 6 points and in 11 previous games, he's notched 6 goals and 15 points. Tampa Bay has won two of its three meetings against Atlanta this season.

* Atlanta's Todd White has recorded points in 18 of his last 27 games -- notching 24 points and 7 goals during that span. White leads the Thrashers with 31 assists and a career-high 9 power-play goals and ranks second on the team with 45 points.

* Columbus Blue Jackets center R.J. Umberger has scored 16 goals in 53 games this season -- three more than his total in 74 games last season with Philadelphia. He's four shy of his career-high 20 goals scored in his rookie season in 2005-06.

* The Colorado Avalanche are 17-0-0 when leading after two periods -- the only NHL team to win every game when leading after 40 minutes this season. The Avalanche have actually won their last 25 games when carrying a lead into the third period, the longest active streak in the League.

* Islanders center Doug Weight has scored more points in his career against the Los Angeles Kings (72) than the rest of the Islanders' roster combined (69). Weight's 72 points against the Kings are also the most against any single opponent in his career.

* Florida center Michael Frolik ranks eighth among NHL rookie scoring leaders with 24 points. Additionally, Frolik is fifth among rookies in shots on goal (92), tied for seventh in goals (11) and tied for ninth in power-play points (7).

* If Maple Leafs wing Nik Antropov suits up against the Florida Panthers, it will mark his 500th career NHL game. In 499 games, all with the Maple Leafs, Antropov has 283 points (120 goals, 163 assists) and 473 penalty minutes.
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