Coming into Saturday night, Ben Bishop was one of the NHL’s hottest netminders.
By evening’s end, he was anything but.
Bishop, the Tampa Bay starter, was chased from the net after allowing four goals on 17 shots in a 5-0 loss to the Bruins.
Boston dominated the contest from start to finish, getting goals from five different skaters — David Krejci, Adam McQuaid, Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and Shawn Thornton — while Tuukka Rask stopped all shots faced for his first shutout of the season.
The Bruins dominated Tampa with one of their most balanced attacks in recent memory. In addition to the five separate scorers, Boston had 12 different players notch at least one point on Saturday.
As for Bishop, it was a night to forget.
The league’s tallest netminder came into the B’s game on fire, boasting a 5-0-0 record with a .943 save percentage and 1.57 GAA. He’d also wrestled away Tampa Bay’s No. 1 gig from Anders Lindback, who came on in relief late in the second period, allowing one goal.
Carl Soderberg could make his season debut for the Boston Bruins on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Soderberg has been cleared to play, after missing every game in the regular season to date due to an ankle injury suffered in the pre-season finale.
“Carl is ready to go,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said Friday, as per the club’s website. “He’s been cleared so there’s a possibility there.
“I know it’s kind of a question if we feel that he’s going to be in tomorrow; there’s a good chance he will be. He’s been cleared so now it’s up to me to make that decision.”
Originally a St. Louis second-round draft pick in 2004, Soderberg played in a total of eight games last season for the Bruins, including a pair of appearances in the Stanley Cup Final.
Tim Thomas’ first game against his old teammates from Boston didn’t go the way the veteran goaltender may have hoped.
Thomas and the Panthers conceded the Bruins’ winning goal with 59 seconds remaining in regulation, in a 3-2 loss on home ice.
Thomas, 39, got the start against his former team, which he backstopped to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011 against the Vancouver Canucks.
Reilly Smith scored the winning goal, as his backhander on a scramble in front of Thomas just trickled by the netminder and into the net.
Thomas, whose animated responses to goals against has been well-documented in the past, emphatically threw up his arms in frustration as he sat on his knees in the crease.
We already wrote about the importance for the Philadelphia Flyers of tonight’s home game against rival Pittsburgh, but just to add to that, following are a few quotes from various key figures:
Per NHL.com, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma: “I don’t look at the Flyers’ record as an indication of the quality of opponent or what we’re going to see [Thursday] at all. They do have some injuries, but they have key players in, good players in, a special teams that is good and dangerous with what they bring. That’s what we expect from them. Especially early on in the season, when you get off to a 1-3, 1-4, whatever it is, the limelight is on you but I still think they’re a very good team and that’s what we’re focused on, not what their record is.”
Per CSN Philly, Pens captain Sidney Crosby: “You have to prepare even more for a desperate team. You don’t look at the record. You switch scenarios and they could have won five in a row. It doesn’t matter. They are going to come into this desperate. They always start well here.”
Again from CSN Philly, Flyers captain Claude Giroux: “What’s going on right now makes me think of when we played Boston in the  playoffs. We were down 3-0, but we were talking to ourselves and we were like, ‘How the hell are we down 3-0? We should be up 3-0.’ We just stayed with it and came back and won the series.”
That last comment from Giroux, who has just two assists in seven games, was particularly interesting. The Flyers did play a better game Tuesday against Vancouver, but some bad luck…
…and at least one instance of poor defending…
…resulted in a 3-2 loss.
It seemed inevitable that when Tim Thomas signed with the Florida Panthers, he’d eventually face his old team, the Boston Bruins.
On Wednesday, it was made official: Thomas, the 39-year-old puck stopper, will start for Panthers when they face the Bruins on Thursday.
The evening event, previous in doubt when Thomas was recently felled by a groin injury, is sure to bring back fond memories for both sides.
Thomas was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 2011, when he backstopped the Bruins to their Stanley Cup championship over the Vancouver Canucks in a seven-game series.
“As a teammate he was everything you would want as far as coming to play every night, and bringing that competitive edge all the time,” Bruins forward Milan Lucic told CSNNE.com.
“I won’t say anything bad about him. I got to spend five years with him and got to see the best level that any goalie played at in those five years. That’s the most you could ask from your goaltender. He was a big part of us winning.”
For his part, Thomas will not speak to the media until after Thursday’s game.