Monday, December 21, 2009

Farewell, Don Simmons...We Hardly Knew Ye

Tim Thomas moved past Don Simmons tonight with his 16th career NHL shutout (and fourth this season), good for ninth on Boston's all-time list with a critical 2-0 win over Northeast Division rival the Ottawa Senators on the road.

Simmons played 168 games for the B's between 1956-61, but Thomas knocked him down a peg and moved into a tie with Gilles Gilbert with his 29-save performance on a night when the B's managed to leapfrog over the Sens while the Toronto Maple Leafs lost at home to Buffalo in overtime.

Thomas has absolutely owned the Senators of late: in his last 10 starts, Thomas is 10-0-0 with a GAA of around 1.30 and save percentage over .950. Sens fans have to be seeing Thomas in his distinctive "Mage" mask in their nightmares every time their favorite team plays the B's.

Goals by Patrice Bergeron and Marco Sturm in the third salted the win away for Boston (Sturm converted a nice breakaway pass from Marc Savard to become the first Bruins player to hit double digits in goals this season with his 10th).

Most important, the Bruins are in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. That's a nice Christmas present to B's fans who had been turning into Grinches lately with some of their team's recent performances.

Hat tip to Martin Brodeur, who broke Terry Sawchuk's four decades old all-time shutout mark with his 104th shutout tonight in a 4-0 win over Pittsburgh on the road. He made a hellacious glove save on none other than Evgeni Malkin with about a minute left, so this one wasn't easy. Brodeur, who was picked one slot before Boston might have called his name in the 1990 NHL Draft continues to build on his amazing career.

P.S.- I know I didn't post the updated draft picks today, but will get them up tomorrow once I figure out the logjam at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. Toronto's point elevates them, over the Flyers (who got smoked by the surging Panthers) and idle Ducks, but the Lightning and Rangers, who both won will move ahead, so once I figure it out, I'll get the updated picks up for you all on Tuesday.

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