Tim Thomas has made 13 straight appearances for the Boston Bruins, and in 24 days he’ll turn 38 years old.
No surprise then that head coach Claude Julien is actively searching for ways to get the veteran netminder a break.
“We’d like to get Tim some rest here,” Julien told CSNNE.com. “Hopefully our play will dictate the way we use him moving forward. That way maybe we can get Tim some rest.”
A few things are holding this plan back. One is the play of Marty Turco, who left Austrian League outfit EC Salzburg to join the Bruins two weeks ago. While he says his conditioning has improved and he’s feeling more comfortable with the speed of the NHL, Turco’s numbers tell a different story: 0-1-0, 4.42 GAA, .824 save percentage.
To be fair, those numbers represent a small body of work.
“It’s still early since he’s come here,” Julien said of Turco. “He’s been better every single day that he’s been here and we didn’t bring him in here to sit on the bench. We hope to utilize him.
“But at the same time from an organizational standpoint you have to look at where we are in the standings.”
The standings are another reason why it’ll be tough to rest Thomas down the stretch. The B’s are in the Northeast Division driver’s seat — four points clear of Ottawa with two games in hand — but are now looking over their shoulders at the pesky Florida Panthers, who lead the Southeast Division and are just two points back of Boston for second in the East.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Bruins do with the goaltending moving forward. As CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out, Boston will play every other night for the remaining 10 games of the year starting in San Jose on Thursday.
They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.
It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.
Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.
Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.
“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”
Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: