Tim Thomas was in all-out playoff mode Thursday night in San Jose.
Unfortunately, the rest of the Bruins left their skating legs on the cross-country charter and did little to help out their star goaltender in a loss.
Although it didn’t seem possible, Thomas was better in Los Angeles Saturday than he was against the Sharks, and this time around Boston provided the offensive support. Four different Bruins scored goals in a 4-2 win over the Kings.
Thomas made 40 saves, many spectacular, to earn the victory, which snapped the Bruins’ four-game road losing streak. The biggest save of the night came with 15 seconds left and the Kings pressuring with an extra attacker. Jeff Carter tipped Drew Doughty’s spinning backhand shot through traffic, but Thomas flashed out his right pad to preserve a one-goal lead.
Brad Marchand scored the empty-net goal moments later.
Thomas has now played in 15 straight games and might have just earned himself a rest Sunday night when the Bruins visit Anaheim. Thomas has a 3-1-0 record with a 1.48 goals-against average in his last four outings.
For at least one night, Thomas made sure Jonathan Quick wasn’t the best American-born goaltender on the ice. Quick allowed more than two goals for the first time in six games and finished with 22 saves.
▪The Bruins needed this win based on earlier results in the playoff race. Both Ottawa and Buffalo won, so the Bruins lead the Senators by three points and the Sabres by five for the Northeast Division lead. Boston also leads idle Florida by three points for second in the Eastern Conference.
▪Don’t go breaking up the Bruins’ third line just yet. Rick Peverley’s imminent return to the lineup has some thinking that maybe Brian Rolston or Benoit Pouliot – Chris Kelly’s wingers – could be headed to the sidelines. Against the Kings, that trio was responsible for the game-winning goal. And along the way they proved they could play soccer as well as hockey. Pouliot started the breakout with a kick to Rolston. And then Pouliot fed the puck to the front, where Kelly deflected it past Quick with his skate.
Rolston is now on a five-game point streak (2-7-9), Kelly has a four-game streak (3-2-5) and Pouliot has 2-4-6 totals in his last five games. Kelly also recorded his third fighting major of the season (he had just two in his career before this year) and got the better of Trevor Lewis in a brief bout.
▪Patrice Bergeron scored his second shorthanded goal of the season. It was Boston’s eighth of the year and just the second of the season against the Kings’ power play. The goal was Bergeron’s first in 14 games.
Marchand assisted on the goal, as he made a steal and then got a shot on Quick before Bergeron banged in the rebound. Later in the game, Marchand failed to hit the net on a breakaway and Colin Fraser wound up scoring a goal down the other end on a 3-on-2 to tie the game at 1 late in the second period. Fraser scored his first goal in 58 contests.
▪The Kings had won six in a row overall and six in a row at home.
▪The Bruins played about 15 minutes of the second period without defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who returned in the third period.
▪Milan Lucic scored the go-ahead goal in the third period. It was his first goal in seven games.