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Behind Thomas, Bruins win 9th straight

Nov 22, 2011 - 5:56 AM Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - And just like that, the Boston Bruins are tied for first place.

Tim Thomas made 33 saves for his second straight shutout and the Bruins won their ninth straight game for the first time in almost three years, beating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 on Monday night.

Thomas has three shutouts during Boston's streak, including one Saturday night against the New York Islanders. Andrew Ference scored late in the first period of this one for the only goal.

Carey Price made 17 saves, including all 13 he faced in the last two periods, but the Canadiens couldn't solve Thomas, who pushed his personal scoreless streak to 133 minutes, 4 seconds dating to the third period of a 4-3 win over New Jersey on November 15.

"He definitely stoned us tonight," said Price. "He played really well but that's the type of game they've been playing for a while."

Besides the Islanders, Thomas also blanked the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 7-0 win on November 5.

On Monday, he made 14 saves in the third period after stopping 10 in the first and eight in the second, picking up his 29th career shutout. He might have been the only reason Boston won.

As Thomas said afterward, the Bruins had trouble keeping the puck out of their zone. But they played good defense to make up for it and held Montreal 0-for-4 on the power play.

"We had to battle to the end of 60 minutes," said Thomas, "and you have to be ready for everything."

Ference's goal, on a snap shot from the left circle with 4:19 remaining in the first period, was all the offense the Bruins needed to remain perfect this month after a 3-7-0 October.

"They rely on their goaltender and he's been stepping up. But I thought our guys put the heat on him for most of the night," said Price. "So we have to be pretty happy with our performance. I thought we deserved a better result but it took Tim Thomas to play well and it took one goal for him to win."

It's Boston's first nine-game winning streak since they captured 10 in a row from December 12, 2008 through January 1, 2009.

The defending Stanley Cup champions have outscored opponents 43-14 during their streak and pulled into a tie for first place in the Northeast Division with Buffalo and Toronto.

All three teams have 24 points. The Sabres and Maple Leafs were both idle on Monday.

Game Notes

The Bruins beat Montreal for the first time this season after losing both ends of a home-and-home on October 27 and 29...Boston was scoreless on one power play.