Thomas wins 11th straight, Bruins beat ’Canes

Published 6:57 pm Saturday, May 2, 2009

By By JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer
BOSTON — Aaron Ward laughed when he saw all the newspaper articles asking whether the Boston Bruins would be rusty from the long layoff they earned by sweeping Montreal in the first round.
Tim Thomas stopped 26 shots, and Marc Savard scored twice for the Bruins, the top-seeded team remaining in the NHL playoffs. Michael Ryder scored for the fourth game in a row as Boston, which swept the Hurricanes during the regular season, made it five straight — by a total score of 22-7.
Cam Ward made 20 saves, and Jussi Jokinen scored the lone goal for Carolina.
Game 2 is Sunday in Boston.
Thomas won his 11th consecutive game, including four straight in the first round against rival Montreal that was Boston’s first playoff series victory since beating the Hurricanes in 1999. The sweep of the Canadiens left Boston with eight days off to prepare; they didn’t even find out their second-round opponent until Tuesday night, when Carolina scored twice in the last 80 seconds of Game 7 against New Jersey to oust the Devils.
Boston scored just 94 seconds in — on the first shot of the game — when Ryder dug the puck out from behind the net and passed it to the point for Aaron Ward. The defenseman’s wrist shot was tipped in by David Krejci.
Carolina tied it with 1:10 left in the first when Jokinen put a slap shot past Thomas a split-second before the goalie was flattened by Ryan Bayda. The goal counted, and Bayda went off for interference.
But that was the only time Thomas was off his game.
He made a save on Tuomo Ruutu midway through the first just before the Hurricanes forward was checked into the crossbar, dislodging the net. With just under 15 minutes left in the game, Thomas made a left-pad save on Eric Staal at point-blank range to keep it a two-goal game.
Two minutes later, Savard took a drop pass from Phil Kessel and beat Ward to make it 4-1.
The Hurricanes lost the opener of the New Jersey series by the same score.