Series (Game 2 of 4)

Boston leads 3-1

Game 1: Monday, November 22nd
Game 2: Thursday, December 2nd
Game 3: Tuesday, December 28th
Game 4: Thursday, March 3rd

Lightning 1

(14-9-3, 31 pts)

Bruins 8

(14-8-2, 30 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 2, 2010

TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

1 2 3 T
TB 0 1 01
BOS 2 2 48

D. Krejci (Bruins - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

M. Lucic (Bruins - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Z. Chara (Bruins - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Lightning-Bruins Preview


The Boston Bruins have averaged two goals over their last 11 games, but they may be on the verge of getting their top playmaker back in the lineup.

Two goals has been enough to win a majority of the time Tim Thomas has been in net.

Thomas could be back in the crease Thursday night to follow up his fifth shutout, while center Marc Savard may make his season debut as the Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Boston (13-8-2) has scored more than three goals just once since Nov. 10, a stretch in which it's gone 5-5-1.

The common thread in those five wins has been fine goaltending, and none of those performances was more exceptional than the show Thomas put on Wednesday. The 2009 Vezina Trophy winner stopped 41 shots in a 3-0 win over Philadelphia, the team that rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to knock the Bruins -- and then-starter Tuukka Rask -- out of last season's playoffs.

Thomas, whose opponents have failed to score more than one goal in nine of his 16 starts, was quick to credit the 14 shots Boston blocked in front of him.

"Goaltending is a very team-dependent position," Thomas told "Without the effort and blocked shots and even players stopping those chances in front, it doesn't happen."

Rask was in net when the Bruins visited the Lightning (14-8-3) on Nov. 22, stopping 33 shots. An eight-minute stretch of the second period was enough to cost him, however, as Tampa Bay scored all its goals en route to a 3-1 victory.

Thomas is 5-3-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average in his last eight starts against the Lightning, while Rask is 1-2-0 with a 4.06 GAA in three career appearances.

While Thomas gave Boston a boost on the back end Wednesday, Savard could do the same up front Thursday. The two-time All-Star, who hasn't played this season due to post-concussion syndrome, says he's ready for game action.

Coach Claude Julien, though, has to give Savard the go-ahead.

"He's become an almost day-to-day situation with different reasons for holding him back, and I think that decision will hopefully come sooner than later," Julien told the Bruins' official website. "I think we're all looking forward to having him in our lineup and he's looking better every day."

Savard has a goal and six assists in his last five games versus Tampa Bay.

When the Lightning hosted the Bruins last month, they were in the midst of a five-game winning streak that ended with a 6-0 loss at Washington on Friday and a 4-3 shootout defeat at Florida a day later.

Tampa Bay responded in dramatic fashion Tuesday at Toronto. Martin St. Louis brought the Lightning back from a 3-1 deficit with a pair of goals in the third -- the latter with 8.7 seconds left -- before Simon Gagne gave them a 4-3 overtime win in his first game since Oct. 21.

"It's been really hard," St. Louis said of playing without Gagne, who's been dealing with a lingering neck injury. "He's a battler, he's a guy that wants to be out there and help his team win.

"We're happy to have him back."

The Bruins, a day removed from exorcising their demons against Philadelphia, don't need another reason to fear the former Flyer. Gagne missed the first three games of the Boston-Philadelphia series last spring with a foot injury before scoring four goals in four games -- including the Game 7 game-winner -- to spark the historic comeback.

St. Louis and Steven Stamkos, who leads the NHL with 21 goals despite not scoring in his last three games, have combined for seven goals and seven assists in their last four against Boston.