Recap: Bruins 3, Flames 1
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - A week of rest was all Tim Thomas needed to get back on track.
Boston's All-Star goalie made 28 saves, and Milan Lucic scored twice as the Bruins downed the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Thomas was playing for the first time in a week after getting a two-game break from Bruins coach Claude Julien. The 36-year-old netminder had lost consecutive games for the first time this season, giving up eight goals.
"My legs felt fresher tonight than they have in a little while," said Thomas (27-8-6), who lowered his NHL-leading, goals-against average to 1.99.
Thomas earned a win by getting the best of the Flames, who were 11-1-2 in their previous 14 games.
Trailing 1-0 early in the third, the Flames had a great chance to tie it but Thomas slid across to deny Jarome Iginla after the Flames captain and Alex Tanguay worked a perfect give-and-go in the slot.
"That's why he's on top of all categories for goalies in the NHL. He's a gamer," Lucic said. "He comes to play every night."
Later in the period, Thomas threw out an arm to get a piece of Cory Sarich's point shot that then went off the post.
"That whole week was good for him," Julien said. "Tuukka (Rask) was able to win us a couple games in that span. It's great to see. We're hoping that we can utilize both of them from here on in so we're in a position to have some fresh goaltenders heading into the postseason."
Brad Marchand had the other goal for the Bruins. Curtis Glencross netted the Flames' lone tally.
Marchand made it 2-0 for Boston at 5:55 of the third period. Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff kicked out Patrice Bergeron's shot from the wing straight to Marchand, who put his 19th goal into the open net.
"I think we gave them a little too much respect off the hop," Glencross said. "We've got to worry about our own team. We're a good team in here. If we come out and play, we can play with any team in the league."
After Glencross broke Thomas' shutout bid with 2:33 left off a nice pass from Jarome Iginla on a power play, Lucic clinched the win with an empty-net goal in the final minute.
"We can't dwell on this. We've had a good stretch here, and we've got to just keep taking the positives and keep it going," Glencross said.
Boston (34-19-7) took a 1-0 lead less than a minute in on a pretty setup from David Krejci.
Skating down the wing, Krejci faked a slap shot and sent a hard pass across the slot to Lucic, who neatly steered his 25th goal behind Kiprusoff before bowling him over.
The line of Lucic, Krejci and Nathan Horton dominated play most of the night.
"Our game kind of fell off in January because we weren't making smart plays. We were coughing up pucks, weren't moving like we usually do," Lucic said. "These last couple of games, we're skating again, we're strong on the puck and we're winning battles. If we want to be an effective line, that's what we need to do."
Thomas was the busiest of the goalies in the first period, turning aside numerous Flames chances, but his best stops came in the third.
Thomas also got some help from his defense. Tanguay was about to shoot on a second-period breakaway when he had his stick lifted from behind by the long reach of 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara.
Calgary lost in regulation at home for the first time in 10 games (7-1-2). With 70 points, the Flames remain in a playoff spot in the Western Conference, but are just two points up on a pack of teams at 68 points.
Glencross extended his point streak to eight games (seven goals, five assists). Kiprusoff finished with 26 saves.
The Northeast Division-leading Bruins pulled into a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with the idle Tampa Bay Lightning.
Boston, the NHL's third-best road team, is 3-0 halfway through its season-high six-game trip.
Notes: Rich Peverley made his Bruins debut, playing on a line with Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder. ... Calgary G Henrik Karlsson has played just seven minutes since Jan. 21. The 27-year-old Swede has won his last two starts. ... Boston's last road win against the Flames was Oct. 18, 1997. The Bruins were 0-4-1 in their previous five visits. ... Boston is 19-0-1 after taking a 2-0 lead and 33-4-4 in all games in which they go ahead.
|Three star selections|