The Bruins are in the playoffs, and they have clinched the Northeast division with their win over the Thrashers last Saturday. We also now know that the Bruins will match up with time rival Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a record 33rd time.
But what led the Bruins to this point in the week? Let’s review the top five plays of the week.
No. 5 – Gregory Campbell’s Goal vs Islanders
In Wednesday night’s contest vs the New York Islanders, head coach Claude Julien was very disappointed with the effort of his “best players” calling them out after the game. The only players that stood out were the fourth liners, including Gregory Campbell, who was one of the reasons Boston won the game.
Campbell increased the Bruins lead to two just 78 seconds after defenseman Dennis Seidenberg gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the second period.
“The consensus after the first period [Wednesday] was that we were just playing OK,” Campbell said. “For us to come out and score a couple of goals and get on top and find ourselves in the same situation we were in Monday night and have another crack on that and to keep that lead that was good.”
No. 4- Daniel Paille’s Week
There has been talk throughout Boston of who should sit these playoffs. Tough guy Shawn Thornton, sluggish and disappointing goal scorer Michael Ryder, rookie sensation Tyler Seguin or Daniel Paille, the penalty killer. The obvious choice has been Paille, but that may have changed. After Thornton missed a couple of games with a face injury, Paille stepped in and scored three goals this week to maybe change the coach’s mind.
Paille is terrific on the penalty kill and has great speed, something the Bruins already have in guys like Rich Peverley and Brad Marchand, leaving the ex-Sabre as the odd man out. But things could be different after this great week by the fourth line winger.
No. 3 – Nathan Horton’s Goal vs Senators
The Bruins really had nothing to play for this game, but it is always good to see a guy like Horton get on the board. Paille scored the first goal of this game before Bobby Butler tied it for the Sens.
During a Bruins power play, Horton was in perfect position to score off a Curtis McElhinney rebound (his 26th goal of the season) and give the Bruins the lead
No. 2 – Michael Ryder’s Penalty Shot vs Thrashers
Goals have come few and far between for Ryder this season, but his game winning penalty shot vs the Thrashers broke him out of his rut. It was Ryder’s first goal in over a month, but it was an important one, as it clinched the division.
The game was tied with 7:39 left in the third period when Johnny Oduya tripped Ryder and the referee called the penalty shot. Ryder’s wrist snapped past Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavalec to give the Bruins the win and the Northeast division title.
N0. 1 – Tim Thomas Breaks Record
With Tuukka Rask likely in net for today’s contest against the New Jersey Devils, Tim Thomas has presumably passed Dominik Hasek’s single season save percentage record set in 1998-99. Thomas’ save percentage sits at .938, one percentage point higher than Hasek’s .937.
Thomas allowed one goal to the Ottawa Senators Saturday to likely cap his marvelous regular season in Boston, and has probably locked up a Vezina trophy. He made 31 saves in the game and his only blemish came from Butler’s tally in the first. The Vezina Trophy favorite also leads the league in goals against average (2.00).