With no media availability, here's the latest version of Plus/Minus:
+ Tim Thomas and his defense. Thomas has two shutouts in his last three starts. The Vezina favorite looks calm, compact, and poised. Thomas's efficiency goes hand in hand with how crisply the team is playing in front of him. He's getting very good looks at pucks. The defense is also filling shooting lanes and blocking shots. It's a fine line for the defense -- block shots, but also give their goalies clear sightlines. Goalie and defense are in synch.
+ Johnny Boychuk's scoring touch. Boychuk has two goals in his last four games. The right-shot defenseman has one of the team's best slappers. He's a threat when he can get the puck past shot-blockers and on net.
+ Balance. All four lines and three pairings are contributing at both ends. Good way to spread out the minutes and rest star players before the playoffs.
- The scary wound above Shawn Thornton's right eye. Could have been far, far worse had Fernando Pisani's skate struck a little lower. Bush-league stuff from the Blackhawks to chirp Thornton as he skated off. Silver lining is that Thornton will be relieved of all fisticuffs duties until his injury heals. Tough guy deserves a break and can focus on playing hockey.
- Lack of finish by the third line. Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly, and Tyler Seguin are getting all kinds of scoring chances. They've been using their speed effectively. Just can't seem to bury their opportunities.
- Michael Ryder's funk. Ryder must be better. The winger was too good against Buffalo in last year's first round not to bring a similar playoff presence this season.