The last time the Bruins and the Lightning squared off, things got a little rapey a little too quickly. You know things are bad when we have a one picture recap. Go ahead and take a look if you either A) need a reminder or B) haven't "read" our recap of that game yet. Basically Marty Turco pooped the bed, Steven Stamkos scored his 49th and 50th goals and the Bruins basically gave up 5 minutes into the game...when it was 4-0.
But that was exactly two weeks ago and shit changes. Tim Thomas is rocking some new stellar pads that have given him the powers of Captain America again. I'm pretty sure that his hockey pads are akin to Sampson and his hair. When that whore cut Sampson's hair, he lost all of his powers. When Thomas' pads became dirtier than Duncan Keith's elbow at a ginger convention, he too lost all of his power. BUT HE'S BACK BABY!
During Saturday's game, I tweeted out if Thomas got new pads because they looked really, really white with a noticeable lack of puck marks. Well, our buddy Joe Haggerty responded:
So if you were wondering, there is your answer from the man himself.
@PezDOY He's had the new pads since the Philly game. Coincided with his run of quality play. Said old pads were too broken down— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) March 25, 2012
Now the real question is if Thomas starts tonight or not. Counting tonight's game there are 7 games left on the schedule. The Bruins are playing the Lightning (11th overall in the East), Capitals (8th overall), Islanders (14th overall), Rangers (1st overall), Penguins (4th overall), Senators (7th overall) and Sabres (9th overall). Thomas has played in 55 games this season, with his career high being 66 in the 2006-2007 season. So I pose this question to you:
Would it be smart for Boston to give Thomas a rest?
He's already had 2 days off since playing on Saturday night. Is it worth giving him a blow tonight and sending Turco out to face his demons and then suiting Timmy up on Thursday night? I'm not sure what harm could come of letting Timmy rest for another two days given that the Bruins had him play in 14 straight games.
If anything, shouldn't the blame be put on the coaching staff? It seems that when Tuukka went down, Claude panicked and just threw Thomas out there night after night after night, even when Turco was ready for some in game action. I mean, the fan base was clamoring to see Turco play (which was strange to begin with) and when Turco finally did play, the Lightning put a 4 spot on the board and Turco got the big comedic hook. Eventually he went back out there when Claude realized the game was over.
Regardless of who starts tonight, you need to look at the potential matchups down the stretch. In a three game series the Bruins are in New York, home against Pittsburgh and then in Ottawa. Those are games 79, 80 and 81. It is entirely possible that by the time you hit game #81, Ottawa is still breathing down your neck or worse, Ottawa is the second seed in the East. It's a distinct possibility considering they are only 3 points behind Boston and Boston now only has 1 game in hand.
Which brings me to my next point: A game in hand does not automatically equal a win. I asked awhile back on Twitter if people were more worried about catching the Rangers or fending off the Senators and a lot of people fired back with catching the Rangers because Ottawa was a flash in the pan. Well, it seems that holding off Ottawa is the bigger issue here. A lot of people stated how many games in hand the Bruins had over the Senators, but it clearly didn't mean anything because Boston has had a terrible March.
Anyways, if you're one of those who look down the schedule, don't you want to start Thomas at least two out of those three games? It's possible he plays all three, since none of them are back-to-back games and Turco starts against the Islanders and against the Sabres.
It's all fucking bananas, I can tell you that much.
But hey, Rich Peverley is back and that just makes my heart swell. Seeing him on the second line Sunday was a blessing. Think about it. Moving Seguin back to the first line puts one of hockey's best lines back together. Remember when Seguin, Lucic and Krejci were clicking on all cylinders? It was a thing of beauty. Peverley allows Seguin to go up to the first line while not taking anything away from the second. No, Peverley doesn't have the hands like Seguin, but he has the quickness and he's better defensively. Hopefully when his legs are back (which didn't look too bad on Sunday), he'll be able to contribute again. If only he buried that shot early against Hiller, that would've been something eh?
After the jump, Ottawatch 2012...
Alright, let's break it down. Here's your current Eastern Conference standings:
As you can see, Boston has 2 games in hand against Ottawa (1 after tonight) and Ottawa trails them by 3 points. With 5 games left on Ottawa's schedule, here's what it looks like:
March 31: at Philadelphia
April 1: at New York Islanders
April 3: vs. Carolina
April 5: at Boston
April 7: vs. New Jersey
3 playoff teams left in their 5 games. I'll be honest, that schedule isn't as hard as the Bruins final 7. The Senators also get a break from 3/27 to 3/31, which should help them rest up and also eat away at Boston's games in hand. Yes, you read that right. The Senators do not play again until March 31st.
Next game: March 31 at Philadelphia
Season Series: 1-1-1
Goals For: 10
Goals Against: 14
Top 3 Points Vs. Philadelphia:
Erik Karlsson: 2G, 4A, 6P
Daniel Alfredsson: 1G, 2A, 3P
Jason Spezza: 1G, 1A, 1P
Goales vs. Philadelphia:
Craig Anderson: 3GP, 1-0-1, 3.64 GAA, .896 SV%
Alex Auld: 1GP, 0-1-0, 12.00 GAA, .600 SV%
With the playoffs looming, get your bWo shirt and watch the Bruins kick a little ass.
Puck Drop: 7:30pm EST
TV: NESN (locally), NBC Sports Network, TSN
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub
Online Feeds: Here
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He may be gone from Tampa, but not from our laughs.
IF THE PUCK DROPS IN TAMPA, BUT EVERYONE'S ASLEEP BECAUSE IT'S PAST 4:30, DOES IT MAKE A SOUND?!
TIME TO GO!