BOSTON — Bruins goalie and Vezina favorite Tim Thomas came into Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Senators on the verge of breaking Dominik Hasek’s single season save percentage record, which he set during the 1998-99 season with the Buffalo Sabres (.9366). On Saturday, Thomas improve his percentage to .9382 after his 31-save performance in the Bruins’ 3-1 victory in front of the 71st consecutive sellout crowd of 17,565 at TD Garden.
After the game, Thomas admitted that the Dominator was an inspiration of his growing up during his days at the University of Vermont.
“I’ll be honest, Dominik Hasek was a hero of mine,” Thomas noted. “He was a guy who played unconventional and had a ton of success. And even at college I was already labeled as somebody with my style that I couldn’t do it at the next level. Actually seeing him knowing that he’s still playing, I’m still impressed with what he’s been able to accomplish.”
Thomas was also a little shocked to hear that his save percentage, which was at .9376 going into the contest, moved up by .0016.
“That’s what it went up to? Okay because was it .9376 before? Yeah well that’s great,” Thomas said with a laugh.
Although Thomas was happy to hear about his accomplishment, he still knows that there’s still one more regular season game tomorrow in New Jersey.
While Tuukka Rask will most likely get the start to close out the Bruins’ 2010-11 regular season, Thomas won’t look back on his accomplishment until the last whistle.
“That’s awesome. But there’s one more game. As a team we have to focus on taking care of business tomorrow and I’m part of that,” he said. “I’ll reflect on it once the season’s over a little bit more than I am right now.”
Thomas has been quite stellar during his career against the Sens and this year is no different. He went 3-1 this season against Ottawa with two shutouts.
Today, Thomas made a flurry of saves during the first period and robbed Sens forward and UNH alum Bobby Butler of a goal shortly after their first power play opportunity. Although Butler redeemed himself a few minutes later with his 10th goal of the season, Thomas, and the Bruins, got the best of the Sens in the final two periods.
“Well he’s had a good year for us,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien about his netminder. “I think deep down the record seemed to matter to him; and it was important deep down to help him through it and play as best as they could.
“He made some great saves again tonight for us, but I think for the rest of the team to get that. Now its done and over and its time to turn the page and move on.”
The Bruins begin their quest for the Stanley Cup playoffs on Thursday against either Buffalo or Montreal in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
For Thomas, getting those three reps in this week — against the Rangers, Islanders and Senators — was important for him to stay fresh just days before the opening faceoff.
“I think today helped,” he said “That was goal of playing this weekend was to get ready for the playoffs. We didn’t want too long of a break.
“It was actually my decision to play…I won’t say I didn’t end up putting any pressure on myself, but I wall say that it was probably the best thing for the team and for myself going forward to get ready for the playoffs.”
For a goalie who wasn’t even in discussion to be a No. 1 this season, Thomas has done pretty well for himself and is getting hot at the right time.
This post also appeared on Inside Hockey