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Cullen: Bruins' Thomas Trumps JVR's Breakout Game for Flyers

Scott Cullen
5/3/2011 1:23:16 AM
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When Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is on his game, he gives Boston a significant advantage over teams with good goaltending, to say nothing of the Philadelphia Flyers.

To be fair, the Flyers' goaltending was not a major problem on Monday night, as Brian Boucher stopped 32 of 35 shots (Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all six shots he faced in a relief stint, while Boucher nursed a hand injury).

But, back to Thomas, the Vezina Trophy favourite who turned away 52 of 54 Flyers shots, including 46 straight after the Flyers had jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals by James van Riemsdyk.

Thomas' 52 saves were his most ever in an NHL game, surpassing his previous best of 51, set against the Flyers in a 4-3 overtime loss on March 1, 2007.  Philadelphia had 22 shots in the third period alone, none of which got past the Bruins netminder.

Thomas was the difference maker in the game, just barely overshadowing Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk, who may have played the best game of his young career, scoring both Philadelphia goals and registering eight shots on goal while playing 28:18. 

It was already the fourth time in this year's playoffs that van Riemsdyk had at least eight shots on goal (he leads the postseason with 59 shots total and 6.6 per game) and his ice time was a career high.

The crazy thing is that van Riemsdyk's eight shots didn't even lead the Flyers; team captain Mike Richards had ten shots on goal (he also had eight shots on goal in Game One), but had no points and a minus-2 to show for it.

Boston's overtime winner came off the stick of David Krejci, who now has three goals and five points in the first two games of the series -- a far cry from the single goal he managed in seven games against Montreal in Round One.

Bruins defenceman Johnny Boychuk, who saw a lot of van Riemsdyk, led the team with five hits and registered a career-best seven shots on goal, while playing 28:50.

Bruins blueliner Dennis Seidenberg has turned in quite the performance in the first two games of the series, registering a plus-7 rating.

With Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger out of the lineup again (speculation now centers on a lower body injury, but it's pretty much guessing at this point), the Flyers had to lean heavily on their top four defencemen. 

Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros and Kimmo Timonen all played at least 29 minutes in the game.

Boston is in ideal position, up two games to none and heading back to Boston.  Their goaltender is playing great, their number one centre is producing and they're going home. 

Philadelphia, conversely, heads on the road, posssibly without their best defenceman, in an attempt to overcome a two-games-to-none deficit.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.



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