Wed, Dec 07, 2011 - Page 19 News List

NHL: Thomas blunts Pittsburgh’s offense

ON A ROLL:Goaltender Tim Thomas made 45 saves as the Boston Bruins climbed within a point of the Eastern Conference leaders after their 14th win in 15 games

Reuters and AP, LOS ANGELES

Matt Niskanen of the Pittsburgh Penguins, rear, fights with Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins in the second period of their NHL game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Monday.

Photo: Reuters

Boston goaltender Tim Thomas blunted Pittsburgh’s potent offense as the Bruins extended their incredible turnaround with a 3-1 win over Sidney Crosby’s Eastern Conference-leading Penguins on Monday.

Thomas shut down Pittsburgh’s attack with 45 saves and the defending Stanley Cup champions stormed to their 14th win in 15 games, picking themselves up off the bottom of the conference to climb within a point of the Penguins (16-8-4).

“We’ve done a good job of coming to play and finding a way to win,” Thomas said. “We don’t know how we’re going to win every night, but we do it different ways with different guys.”

Gregory Campbell and Benoit Pouliot put the Bruins (17-7-1) ahead in the second period and Tyler Seguin’s goal a minute into the third extended the lead to 3-0.

Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke netted midway through the third to spoil the shutout for Thomas, but the home team never looked like getting back on level terms.

Thomas killed two Pittsburgh five-on-three advantages in the second period and helped the team survive being outshot 46-27.

“Any time you kill two five-on-threes, it gives you a real big jump and boost on the bench, such a lift,” Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara said. “Especially when they have such good players. I thought we did a good job of taking away what they tried to do, and did not give them quality passes or shots.”

Thomas has not lost a start for the Bruins since Oct. 27 and has a career-best 10-game winning streak.

Penguins captain Crosby has 12 points in eight games since he returned from concussion symptoms that sidelined him for 10 months, but he was held without a point on Monday.

MAPLE LEAFS 4, RANGERS 2

In New York, Phil Kessel had two assists to add to his NHL-leading points total as Toronto snapped the New York Rangers’ five-game winning streak.

The Maple Leafs scored twice in less than two minutes to take a 3-0 lead early in the second period, then gave both goals back in another quick burst later in the period.

Jonas Gustavsson made 12 saves in the third to preserve the one-goal margin, repeatedly turning New York away on a power play in the final minute, before David Steckel scored an empty-net goal with five seconds left.

Cody Franson, Tim Connolly and Joffrey Lupul also scored for the Leafs. Gustavsson made 30 saves.

Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik netted for the Rangers.

PANTHERS 5, CAPITALS 4

In Sunrise, Florida, Stephen Weiss scored two goals to lead Florida to a win over Washington.

Mike Santorelli, Dmitry Kulikov and Sean Bergenheim also scored for Florida, while Scott Clemmensen stopped 28 shots. Kulikov added two assists and defenseman Brian Campbell had three.

Mike Knuble, Cody Eakin, Brooks Laich and Jason Chimera had goals for the Capitals.

Michal Neuvirth made 25 saves, but struggled in his second start under new Washington coach Dale Hunter.

SENATORS 4, LIGHTNING 2

In Ottawa, Nick Foligno scored 15 minutes, 33 seconds into the third period and Zack Smith added two goals as Ottawa extended Tampa Bay’s losing streak to four games.

Daniel Alfredsson scored his sixth goal — the 395th of his NHL career — after 8:58 to tie it at 2-2 for the Senators.

The Ottawa captain also earned an assist when Foligno gave the Senators a 3-2 lead by coming out from behind the net and tucking the puck past goalie Dwayne Roloson. Craig Anderson tied a career-high with his third assist of the season on Alfredsson’s goal.

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