The Good: No questions here... this week's Awesome Award is due to longtime objet d'affection Tim Thomas, who just put up back-to-back shutouts on consecutive nights against the Oilers and the Canucks. The games included a total of 59 blocked shots in 2:3:18 of total playing time. He's currently working on a .943 save percentage and is allaying the goaltending worries that many (NOT ME) had coming into this season.
Ups are also due to defenseman (that's "defenceman" for our Canadian readers) Dennis Wideman here. Wideman, whom the Bruins re-signed over the summer, is the team's top-scoring defender with two goals and three assists. He found the back of the net after four shots in OT to give the Bruins the win over Edmonton on Monday night. Andrew Ference remains the top defender overall, but it's great to have someone like Wideman being aggressive about moving the puck up and taking initiative on offense as the Bruins' defense continues to struggle against pressure.
Of course, that Lucic-Savard-Kessel line I keep raving about is still as hot as ever, although it was actually Michael Ryder with whom Savvy connected for the lone (and game-winning) goal last night for his 8th assist -- and Ryder's 2nd goal -- on the season. It was a huge week in particular, as you'll see below, for sophomore sensation Milan Lucic. Lucic is from Vancouver, so, naturally, we were all treated to his baby pictures being splashed all over NESN during the game last night thanks to the Vancouver Province. Precious!
The Shawn Thornton - Stephane Yelle - Petteri Nokelainen line also looked to be gelling quite nicely last night... that's our 4th line, by the way, which speaks volumes to the incredible depth we've got on offense this year.
The Bad: I'm already sensing a pattern here... defense, kids! Our loss to Toronto on Thursday was troubling on several levels. First, we lost to, well, a very bad team (the Leafs were on a 5-game losing streak coming into Thursday's game). Second, it was our first loss by more than a point (4-2). Third, Toronto got in 38 shots on goal, including 14 in the 3rd period alone. This is not good. Ference and Wideman make a great duo, but Mark Stuart and Aaron Ward have been much less of a presence than they should be, and Captain Chara's currently saddled with a +/- of -3... the lowest on the team. The B's do a great job of setting up neutral zone traps, but keeping up with shooters once they've penetrated (heh) the defending zone continues to be an issue for these Bruins.
Play of the week: Three plays, actually... Milan Lucic scores his first career hat trick of the non-Gordie Howe* variety, including the game winner with under 2 minutes left to play against the Thrashers on Saturday. Once, twice, three times a Lucic, baby. Observe:
Hit of the week: Duh. You've all seen this already, but it's just so awesome that I'm posting it again. Double your Lucic, double your fun! Here, the strapping Serb sends Toronto's Mike Van Ryn through -- THROUGH -- the Plexiglass at the Garden on Thursday. Those of you who've been following along will recall that the Bruins actually opened their season with another shattered glass pane... that one came off a Zdeno Chara slapshot against Colorado. Sweet. As long as our rink is all fucked up, we might as well go around breaking shit, too. Boom, bitch:
*For those of you non-hockey types out there, a Gordie Howe hat trick consists of a goal, an assist, and a fight. This is not to be confused with a Taz O'Reilly hat trick, which consists of a fight, a penalty, and beating the shit out of a fan.