Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Tim Thomas made 32 stops for his ninth shutout of the year to lift the Boston Bruins to a 3-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Nathan Horton, Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk all scored for the Bruins, who have won four of five to move three points back of Washington for the second spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston also has a seven-point lead over Montreal for first in the Northeast Division with a game in hand.
Corey Crawford stopped 31 shots for the Blackhawks, who had won three of four coming in.
Chicago still holds a three-point lead over idle Calgary for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The first period went scoreless with Crawford stopping 12 shots and Thomas five.
Boston got the only goal it needed 12:02 into the second when Chara's shot from the left point made its way through traffic.
Just 2:20 later, the Bruins took a 2-0 lead as Boychuk threw a shot on net from the right point that sailed past Crawford.
At the 5:20 mark of the third, Horton put the nail in the coffin as he took a pass in the slot and switched over to the forehand before stuffing the puck into the net.
Thomas made 12 stops in the second then finished the shutout with 15 saves in the third period.
Thomas has 26 shutouts in his career...Chicago plays in Columbus on Friday...Boston hosts Toronto on Thursday...Boston has won five of the last seven against Chicago...Chicago went 0-for-2 on the power play, but didn't commit any penalties in the game.