BOSTON -- The Bruins finally followed up a “big” win with another win as they shut out the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 behind 32 saves from Tim Thomas. Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk and Nathan Horton all scored for the Bruins, who pulled within two points of the Capitals for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Thomas gets ninth shutout. Thomas followed up a brilliant 24-save performance in a 2-1 win at Philadelphia with another spectacular effort, recording his ninth shutout of the season. Thomas is second in the NHL in shutouts, trailing only the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist (11). Since going winless in four games, Thomas has won his last three starts and has 33 wins this season.
Horton keeps finding the back of the net. With a beautiful third-period goal, Horton continued to be hot at the right time, scoring four goals in his last four games. Horton has 24 goals this season, and as coach Claude Julien has repeatedly pointed out recently, he is playing with an edge.
Defense continues to chip in. One of the keys to the Bruins' recent success has been the defensemen chipping in offensively, and on Tuesday night they were a factor again as Chara and Boychuk both lit the lamp. The defense has combined for five goals and 11 points in the last four games.
Bruins match Blackhawks’ intensity. While the Blackhawks figured to be tired after a dramatic 3-2 overtime win at Detroit on Monday, they were playing for their playoff lives and the Bruins proved to be ready for that intensity. The Bruins outshot the Blackhawks 12-5 in the first period and 18-12 in the second. The Hawks took it to them in the third, outshooting the Bruins 15-4 as they fought to pad their three-point lead on Calgary for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but Thomas was up to the task.
Recchi takes over 12th all-time in regular-season points. With his assist on Boychuk’s second-period goal, forward Mark Recchi took over sole possession of 12th place all-time in regular-season points. Recchi has 1,532 points in what will surely be a Hall of Fame career.
Thornton gashed by skate. Forward Shawn Thornton suffered a gash above his eye from the skate of the Blackhawks' Fernando Pisani early in the second period and did not return. As Thornton left the ice bleeding with the assistance of a linesman, he tried to break free and get at the Blackhawks bench as a player or players appeared to be taunting him.
Ryder and Kampfer scratched again. For the second consecutive game, winger Michael Ryder was a healthy scratch. Julien said on Tuesday that he will try to use some fresh legs in the final six games, but it remains to be seen if that means Ryder will see ice time as he looks to be in the dog house for his inconsistent play. Defenseman Steven Kampfer, also a healthy scratch again Tuesday, and fellow blueliner Shane Hnidy (rotator cuff) could well get in a game or two, but it will be interesting to see if Julien gives Ryder a chance to earn a spot back in the lineup. Here’s what the forward lines and defensive pairings looked like.
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Upcoming schedule. The Bruins continue their playoff-like schedule of a game every other day when they host the Maple Leafs on Thursday, the Thrashers on Saturday, then play at New York against the Rangers on Monday and back home against the Islanders on Wednesday.