Bruins take care of Tim Thomas, Panthers

Technically, Tim Thomas had returned to Boston before as a visitor (Nov. 7), but at that time he was out with an injury. Tuesday, he was in the net for all six goals as the Bruins (34-15-3) rolled over the hapless Panthers (21-25-7), 6-2, at TD Garden.

A video tribute for him was played in November and he received plenty of applause, so by Tuesday, it was clear that the B’s had moved on from their former franchise goaltender.

“When we were doing the scouting report on him, I just looked at him as the opposing goaltender,” admitted Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “Eventually you kind of turn the page.”

Thomas chose to leave Boston and take a year off from hockey. Now he’s toiling away with a team that’s constantly rebuilding, in a market that couldn’t care less about hockey.

This is the first time since January 2012 that the Bruins have scored 18 goals in three games. Interestingly enough, they have potted six in wins over the Flyers, Islanders and Panthers. Eleven players for Boston had points, led by the first line of David Krejci (1 goal, 2 assists), Milan Lucic (2 goals) and Jarome Iginla (2 assists). This one was never in doubt as Boston built a 2-0 lead in the first (goals by Lucic and Krejci) then a 4-0 lead in the second (goals by Lucic and Reilly Smith) before Florida showed any signs of life.


The Panthers scored the next two goals but then Shawn Thornton turned in the highlight reel tally: bouncing away from two Panthers in the corner then driving to the net and beating Thomas with a backhander. As Julien noted with a laugh, “we’ll be hearing about that for a week.”

The Bruins are 5-0-1 in their last six games with five more remaining before the Olympic break (Feb. 7-25). Julien didn’t want to feed into the hype but the Canadiens make their first visit to the Garden this season Thursday (7 p.m., NESN).

What they’ll be saying: It is partially the product of facing some really bad teams (Islanders, Panthers) but you have to admit that the Bruins are playing their best hockey of the season. Different players and lines seem to step up every game which has helped them knock off some playoff teams (Kings, Flyers) as well and also earn a point in Chicago.

Short of getting pulled, which easily could have happened, Thomas (35 saves) had about as poor a return as you could imagine. At age 39 (turning 40 in April), you have to wonder if this will be his last season in the NHL. Whatever the case, it is a sad ending to a uniquely great career. Needless to say, when people look back at Thomas, they won’t remember his time in Florida.

Smith’s goal gave him the team lead (18) over Brad Marchand while Lucic’s marker means Boston has four players with 15+ goals (Smith, Marchand, Lucic and Iginla) with Patrice Bergeron nearby (14). Krejci is running away with the team assist title: he has 34 and the next closest is Smith with 22.

Earlier in the day, Chris Kelly was activated while Ryan Spooner and Zach Trotman were assigned to Providence. Kelly had missed 22 games, he last appeared in the 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on Dec. 7 (when Thornton attacked Brooks Orpik). Kelly started on the fourth line but Julien put him back on the third line in the third period, he skated 15:22 (1:19 shorthanded) with three shots on goal and one hit.

Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate: @RichSlate



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…