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Thomas masks shaky offense

Michael Ryder wasn't able to snap his personal scoring drought Monday night during the Bruins' 2-0 win at Ottawa, but it wasn't for lack of trying.

Ryder, dropped off the line with Marco Sturm and Marc Savard he had skated on for the last two games, made the most of his time back with David Krejci and Blake Wheeler and played his best all-around game in weeks. The veteran right winger fired five shots on net and threw three hits, though the bounces didn't go his way in his attempt to break out of a four-game goal drought.

But the best thing to come out of the Bruins' victory wasn't Ryder's regained jump and Sturm's first goal in five games; it was Tim Thomas' vintage play between the pipes as he earned his fourth shutout of the season.

Thomas, 10-1-1 in his last 12 starts against the Senators, has struggled since returning from a hand injury that cost him six games. He hadn't won since Dec. 2 (0-2-2) and seemed overaggressive and not attentive to details during that span. But against Ottawa, Thomas was back to his sure-handed self with great positioning and better rebound control (although there's still room for improvement in that area).

The last thing the slumping Bruins' offense needed in Ottawa was an early deficit, and Thomas matched his counterpart Brian Elliott save for save through the first two periods (Ottawa outshot Boston 23-22 through the first 40 minutes). Best of all was probably his kick save on Daniel Alfredsson's tip just eight minutes in.

While a slight slice of the credit goes to the players in front of Thomas for sticking to the system and limiting their mistakes, Thomas played the type of game the Bruins have been counting on him for.

The forward lines still might need some tweaking (Steven Begin cannot stay on the first line for an extended period) and the defense corps definitely could use some positive news in the health department, but right now any questions about the Bruins' strength in goal have been answered by Thomas showing he can keep up with Tuukka Rask to form what may be the league's best duo.