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Some times it’s just nice to play spoiler. The Boston Bruins worked on doing that Tuesday night as they matched up against the Chicago Blackhawks. While the Bruins already secured it’s playoff spot, the Blackhawks needed a win to help them stay afloat in the race for eighth place in the Western Conference. Chicago is currently three points ahead of Calgary for the final spot, but with the Bruins coming away with the 3-0 victory, it’s going to be hard for the Blackhawks to remain in contention.
The loss dropped the defending Stanley Cup champs to 41-27-8 (90 points) on the year. If Chicago is able to make it into the playoffs, the team might still have a strong chance of making some noise in the West.
With the win, the Bruins improved to 43-23-10 on the year, good for 96 points. The B’s now have an even stronger hold of the division over Montreal, as Boston is ahead by seven points.
Coming into the game, Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien knew that Chicago needed this game more than Boston but that didn’t stop them from trying (and winning).
“(Chicago is) a desperate team,” Julien told the Bruins’ official website. “Those kind of games should be helpful for us to stay on top of ours and realize that if you are not ready for games like that you can get embarrassed pretty easily.”
Well the Bruins didn’t get embarassed so much as did the Blackhawks and that’s due in large part from Tim Thomas’s play. Thomas started in goal for the Bruins and had a very strong night. He stopped all 32 shots-on-goal en route to his 33rd win of the season and ninth shutout. Thomas is now 33-10-8 on the year and makes a strong case for his second career Vezina Trophy for the best goalie in the league. He has now won four straight games after losing four in a row (0-2-2).
Corey Crawford was in net for the Blackhawks and turned in a solid effort but it just wasn’t good enough. He stopped 31-of-34 shots on goal but saw his record fall to 30-16-5 on the year. Since winning eight consecutive games at the end of February and into March, Crawford has cooled off as of late. He is 4-4-2 since reeling off those eight wins in a row.
The Bruins will have Wednesday to rest up as they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night at home. Thursday’s meeting will be the sixth and final time the two teams match up this season. So far the Bruins are 2-2-1 against the team from Canada, with the last two games resulting in losses. In both losses, Thomas struggled as he let up four goals each game. Maybe Tuukka Rask will start in goal Thursday? Toronto has been struggling this season and it looks like it will miss the playoffs this year as the team is currently seven points back of eighth place.