Bruins Live Blog: Tim Thomas Delivers Another Huge Effort As B’s Top Penguins 3-1 in Pittsburgh

Bruins Live Blog: Tim Thomas Delivers Another Huge Effort As B's Top Penguins 3-1 in PittsburghFinal, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins hold on for the win, pulling within one point of the Penguins for the top spot in the East with three games in hand on Pittsburgh.

The Bruins are now 14-0-1 since the start of November, while Tim Thomas extends his own career-high win streak to 10 games with a season-high 45 saves.

The Bruins won't get much time to celebrate this one though, as they head straight to Winnipeg for a matchup with the Jets on Tuesday.

Third Period, 19:08, Bruins 3-1: Joe Corvo is hit by a clearing attempt while sitting on the bench, taking the puck in the face. He heads to the room for repairs.

Third Period, 18:51, Bruins 3-1: The Penguins have pulled Fleury for the extra attacker. That comes less than a minute after Tyler Kennedy had a golden chance in deep after Andrew Ference fanned on a pass and turned over the puck in his own zone.

Third Period, 17:01, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins counterattack with Krejci leading a 2 on 1 with Lucic. Krejci takes it down the right wing, cuts to the middle and clangs the post for the second time this period.

Third Period, 14:51, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins have been back on their heels a bit the last few shifts with a number of scrambles around the crease. Thomas continues to stand strong with 34 saves already.

Malkin has also returned for the Penguins after leaving briefly following the hit from Paille.

Third Period, 11:08, Bruins 3-1: Things get nasty again as the Penguins crash into the crease with Joe Vitale slamming into Thomas. Gregory Campbell takes exception and engages Vitale in a long and spirited scrap with both players landing shots.

There was no penalty called for Vitale's hit on Thomas, as the sides stay even with just the fighting majors called.

Third Period, 10:54, Bruins 3-1: The Penguins break up Thomas' shutout bid as Matt Cooke scores.

Joe Vitale stole the puck along the right boards and broke in on a 2 on 1, feeding Cooke at the left post for the score.

Third Period, 8:57, Bruins 3-0: David Krejci nearly makes it 4-0 as his backhander in front clangs off the post.

Third Period, 8:42, Bruins 3-0: Another huge collision, this time with Daniel Paille nailing Evgeni Malkin. That draws the wrath of Arron Asham, but Chara and McQuaid quickly come to Paille's aid. No penalties called. Malkin heads to room.

Third Period, 7:02, Bruins 3-0: A huge collision at center between Penguins forwards Kunitz and Crosby leaves both shaken up. Crosby makes his way to bench gingerly appearing to favor his leg, but he has stayed on the bench.

Third Period, 6:39, Bruins 3-0: The Bruins can't get much going on that sloppy power play. Boston struggled just two get out of their own zone against the aggressive Pittsburgh penalty killers, but they do take two more minutes off the clock.

Third Period, 4:39, Bruins 3-0: The Bruins get another chance on the power play as Chris Kunitz is called for tripping Brad Marchand.

Third Period, 1:07, Bruins 3-0: The Bruins strike on the power play as Tyler Seguin adds a huge insurance goal.

Patrice Bergeron set it up with an end-to-end rush down the right wing, moving around Matt Niskanen and dishing a pass over to Seguin for a one-timer from the left slot.

Third Period, 0:00, Bruins 2-0: The final frame is under way, and the Bruins open with a full power play to start the third.

Second Intermission Notes: The Bruins were outshot 17-8 in the second, but came away with the only two goals to take a 2-0 lead into the third.

The bigger story was their penalty kill, as the Bruins survived two 5-on-3 chances, one for 1:10 and another for a the full two minutes. Tim Thomas had a lot to do with that, but also great work by Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, who has played 4:28 of his 13:38 so far shorthanded. Seidenberg had a huge shot block in front to save a goal during the second two-man advantage.

Part of the difference in shots comes from the Bruins struggle to find the net. They have 17 missed shots to Pittsburgh's four. Chara has just one shot on net and six misses, but he had been close with two clanging off the post or crossbar.

End Second Period, Bruins 2-0: An impressive middle frame comes to a close with the Bruins in front by a pair of goals. They'll also start the third with a power play as Jordan Staal is called for interference on Nathan Horton just before the final buzzer.

Second Period, 18:06, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins survive that 5-on3 as well, thanks to some stellar saves by Thomas and a diving block by Dennis Seidenberg. Chara won a key battle for the puck, lugged it out of the zone and cleared it late in the penalties.

Second Period, 16:06, Bruins 2-0: Huge penalty kill here for the Bruins, who face another two-man advantage. this time it's for the full two minutes, as Pouliot is called for goalie interference, then Peverley gets nabbed for hooking James Neal during the delayed call.

Second Period, 15:18, Bruins 2-0: Cooke has returned for Pittsburgh. Bruins players back on guard for cheap shots once again.

Second Period, 13:25, Bruins 2-0: Thomas almost caught off guard by a James Neal turnaround shot from long range, but Thomas snares it with his glove. Thomas has come up with some big saves in this one as he quietly puts together another outstanding effort.

Second Period, 10:04, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins can't get much going on that power play, but Matt Cooke did go to the room in pain after blocking a Joe Corvo point shot with his hand during the penalty kill.

Second Period, 8:04, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins now go on a power play of their own as Simon Despres goes off for tripping.

Second Period, 7:18, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins build off the momentum from the penalty kill as Benoit Pouliot doubles the lead.

After a turnover, Rich Peverley leads the rush and drops a pass to Pouliot, who beats Fleury glove side with a wrister top shelf from the right circle.

Second Period, 6:09, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins kill off both penalties, and even threaten shorthanded as they maintain their one-goal lead with the sides back at even strength.

Second Period, 4:09, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins are now down two men for the next 1:10 as Chara is sent to the box for interference.

Second Period, 3:19, Bruins 1-0: The gloves come off with unlikely combatants Brad Marchand and Matt Niskanen getting involved after Marchand upended him behind the net.

It's all Niskanen early with rights, but he nits mostly helmet. Marchand returns fire with a few shots of his own late in the bout. Marchand gets the extra two for tripping for the initial incident.

Second Period, 2:57, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins draw first blood as the fourth line strikes with Gregory Campbell opening the scoring.

Daniel Paille sent the puck out from the behind the net to Campbell, who banged it home from the top of the crease.

Second Period, 2:32, 0-0: Things get a little scrambly in the Bruins zone after Matt Cooke gets away with upending Adam McQuaid, but Thomas holds the fort until the Bruins can relieve the pressure.

Second Period, 0:00, 0-0: The middle frame is under way in Pittsburgh, with the Bruins and Penguins still searching for the first goal of the game.

First Intermission Notes: It was a strong road period for the Bruins in the first, as they created chances and outshot Pittsburgh 11-6, but it remains 0-0 going into the second.

Johnny Boychuk and Benoit Pouliot led the way with three shots each. the defense in general has been active in creating offensive opportunities, with Adam McQuaid scoring on a point shot for a goal that was waved off because Chris Kelly obstructed Marc-Andre Fleury in the crease and Zdeno Chara clanging a shot off the post.

The Bruins also had two chances on the power play, but managed just two shots. Both came in the second chance, which was a much better effort. Still, Pittsburgh penalty kill remains formidable, with the Penguins now allowing just one power-play goal on 35 chances on home ice this season.

The only penalties called were for hooking, slashing and interference and the hits are even at a modest 6-6, but things did get a little nasty in the first. Sidney Crosby had words for Tyler Seguin early on after a late bump from the youngster and had a heated exchange with David Krejci in the closing seconds of the period.

End First Period, 0-0: The first frame comes to a close with no scoring, but some heated words between David Krejci and Crosby, who didn't like Krejci's hit on Brooks Orpik in the closing seconds.

First Period, 18:17, 0-0: Things getting a little chippy. Seidenberg and Matt Cooke had a huge collision behind the Bruins net, then Seguin and Brooks Orpik got into it a bit in front of the Penguins goal. That brought Marchand over, and the Bruins agitator draws a crowd but no penalties called.

First Period, 16:42, 0-0: Zdeno Chara fires a shot from the left post through traffic in front but it clangs off the post and stays out.

First Period, 14:19, 0-0: The Bruins penalty kill answers Pittsburgh with a solid kill of its own as the sides are back at even strength.

First Period, 12:19, 0-0: The Bruins are shorthanded for the first time as Gregory Campbell is sent off for interference.

First Period, 11:45, 0-0: Both teams trade chances as Rich Peverley makes a nice rush for a bid at one end with a follow by Pouliot as well, then Sidney Crosby breaks in down the slot only to be denied by Thomas.

First Period, 11:25, 0-0: Much better work on the power play by the Bruins that time, but the results are the same as the Penguins kill off the penalty despite some decent chances generated by Boston.

First Period, 9:25, 0-0: The Bruins get another power-play chance as Benoit Pouliot has a chance with a drive to the right post, then draws a slashing call on Simon Despres behind the net as Dupuis knocks the stick out of Pouliot's hands.

First Period, 7:27, 0-0: Horrible power play for the Bruins, who can't even get set up in the zone for most of the penalty time, then give up a scoring chance to Dupuis out of the box.

First Period, 5:27, 0-0: The Bruins get the first power-play chance of the night as Zdeno Chara draws a holding call on Pascal Dupuis.

First Period, 2:18, 0-0: The Bruins put the first puck in the net, but the goal is waved off. Adam McQuaid fired it in from the right point, but the goal was negated for Chris Kelly being in the crease behind Fleury, preventing the goalie from being able to make a play on the puck. It was incidental contact though, so no penalty for Kelly.

First Period, 0:00, 0-0: The game is under way in Pittsburgh, as the top two teams in the East clash for the first time this season.

7 p.m.: The Bruins have reunited Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg to open this one. They'll start on defense with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin up front and Tim Thomas in goal.

The Penguins counter with Matt Cooke, Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin up front, Paul Martin and Simon Despres on the blue line and Marc-Andre Fleury in net.

6:55 p.m.: No changes in the Boston lineup for this one, as the Bruins have scratched Jordan Caron and Steven Kampfer.

Pittsburgh has injured defensemen Zbynek Michael, Kris Letang and Deryk Engelland and forward Richard Park all out.

6:35 p.m.: As expected, it will be Tim Thomas and Marc-Andre Fleury in goal for this key Eastern Conference showdown.

6:25 p.m.: The Penguins have plenty of firepower, especially with Sidney Crosby back, but that hasn't translated into a lot of success on the power play.

Pittsburgh is 12th overall in the league at 18.2 percent (20-110), but just 1 for 11 in its last four games and 5 for 44 over its last 11 games. The Penguins haven't had more than one power-play goal in any game in that span.

They could struggle in this one as well, as the bruins' penalty kill is sixth in the league at 85.7 percent and Boston has allowed just one power-play goal on 13 chances in the last four games.

Pittsburgh is good at preventing power-play goals too, however. The Penguins are second at 89.1 percent. That includes a remarkable 97.0 percent at home, where they've allowed just one goal on 33 power-play chances by opponents. The Bruins bring the league's 16th-ranked power play (17.2 percent) into the contest and are just 2 for 15 over the last four games.

6 p.m.: The top two teams in the East will clash in just about an hour as the Bruins and Penguins meet up for the first time this season.

The Penguins have Sidney Crosby back in the lineup, but they are shorthanded on defense with a series of injuries on the blue line.

Tim Thomas and Marc-Andre Fleury are expected to be in goal for this one, as the Bruins look to extend their 14-game point streak and pull within a point of the top spot in the conference.

8 a.m. ET: The Bruins continued their domination of Toronto with their fourth win over the Leafs in as many games this season with a 4-1 victory on Saturday. That helped solidify Boston's hold on the top spot in the Northeast Division.

On Monday, Boston will have a chance to get a step closer to first place in the entire conference when it faces the East-leading Penguins for the first time this season in Pittsburgh.

The Bruins come in as the hottest team in the league, posting a 13-0-1 record since the start of November. They're 16-7-1 overall, good for 33 points through 24 games.

But the Penguins are pretty hot as well. They've won their last two and sit atop the East at 16-7-4. That's good for 36 points and a three-point lead on the Bruins, though Boston has three games in hand. The Penguins are also 5-1-1 in their last seven games, a streak that coincides with the return of star center Sidney Crosby, who returned on Nov. 21 after missing more than 10 months with a concussion.

"It's going to be a great challenge for us," Bruins forward Chris Kelly said after Saturday's game. "They are playing extremely well. They have their best player [Crosby] back and he seems like he hasn't missed a beat. It will be an exciting game for us."

Crosby collected two goals and two assists in his first game back against the Islanders. He hasn't had another goal since, but has dished out eight more assists to give him 2-10-12 totals in just seven games. He joins an attack that already featured Evgeni Malkin (9-15-24 in 20 games), James Neal (14-11-25 in 27 games), Pascal Dupuis (8-13-21 in 27 games) and Jordan Staal (12-6-18 in 25 games).

It will be a tough task for the Bruins to keep their current roll going against such stacked lineup, but Boston coach Claude Julien welcomes the challenge.

"I think it's going to be an interesting game," Julien said after practice Sunday. "Obviously [Pittsburgh is] a team that's doing extremely well also. Sidney being back in the lineup, a lot of attention has been put towards him and we know the challenge it represents, but it's a good thing for us I think right now with where we're at with our team to give us one of best possible challenges we can have right now.

"I'm kind of looking forward to it, because it's probably what this team needs right now," Julien added. "Everything has been going pretty smoothly and in order for us to make sure we stay focused, we probably need a good test like that."

The puck drops at 7 p.m., so check back here for updates on all the action.

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