Dallas (30-16-5) at Boston (29-15-7)

By TOM CASTRO, STATS Senior Editor Wednesday, Feb 2, 2011 Puck Drop: 7:00 pm EST Thu Feb 3, 2011

Tim Thomas(notes) continued his dominant play with another outstanding game in the Boston Bruins’ last contest.

He’s been even more dominant in his limited body of work against the Dallas Stars.

Thomas may be back in net as the surging Bruins host the struggling Stars in a matchup of first-place teams Thursday night.

Boston (29-15-7) got 24 saves from Thomas in a 3-2 victory over Carolina on Tuesday night, moving to 8-3-0 in its last 11. The 2009 Vezina Trophy winner has played a major role in that run, going 7-1-0 with a 1.76 goals-against average and two shutouts.

“You can’t figure out how he’s getting it done, but he’s been getting it done all year long,” Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said after Thomas improved to 25-5-6 with an NHL-best 1.82 GAA.

Thomas has made only three appearances against Dallas, but the Stars likely won’t be happy to see him if he makes the start Thursday. He has gone 2-0-1 with a 0.65 GAA in those games and made 27 saves to win 3-0 in the most recent meeting, Oct. 16, 2009, at the American Airlines Arena.

Nathan Horton(notes) and Patrice Bergeron(notes) scored early in the third period for Boston, which stayed four points up in the Northeast Division.

” … We found a way to win, so it’s a good stepping stone,” Thomas said.

The Stars (30-16-5) haven’t been finding a way to win lately. Dallas fell 4-1 to Vancouver on Tuesday to lose for the third time in four games since a 7-0-1 run.

The Stars managed one goal for the second time in four contests.

“We had our opportunities tonight and we got to take responsibility for not jumping on the opportunities that we had,” coach Marc Crawford said. “Special teams are so important and that was the difference tonight.”

Crawford’s team has struggled badly in that area the last four games. The Stars killed off 23 of 24 power plays during the 7-0-1 stretch, but have allowed opponents to score on seven of 14 opportunities over the 1-3-0 slump.

Dallas has gone 1 for 15 with the man advantage over the same span.

“(The Canucks have) a lot of weapons and our biggest thing going into the game was not to give them a lot of power-play chances and we took some silly (penalties), myself included,” said forward Adam Burish(notes), who was in the penalty box when Christian Ehrhoff(notes) scored early in the second period.

The Stars’ Kari Lehtonen(notes), who made 22 saves, has posted a 4.16 GAA in his last two games.

Horton, who broke a 10-game goal drought Tuesday night, has recorded a goal and four assists in his last two matchups with Dallas and had six points in six career games against the Stars.

Bergeron has two goals and three assists in his last four contests. He’s scored a goal in three straight meetings with Dallas.

The Stars have dropped two straight on the road since an eight-game win streak away from Dallas.

Boston is opening a four-game homestand.

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Thursday, Feb 3