At 9:31 of the first period, Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk put his team ahead 2-0 with a power play goal on the team’s eighth shot of the game. Little did they know, however, that Bruins goalie Tim Thomas would steal the show for the rest of the contest.
While Chris Kelly and Brad Marchand tied the game at 2-2 with goals just 1:25 apart in the middle of the opening stanza, Thomas put on a goaltending clinic from the middle of the first period on stopping all 46 shots (52 saves total) he saw for the rest of the game and kept the Black and Gold in the contest with some incredible saves, including 10 in overtime.
It took awhile for Thomas to find his groove after those first period goals by van Riemsdyk, but he was effective nonetheless.
“Obviously they got a couple of quick goals and funny bounces right off the bat,” Thomas said in his postgame press conference. “By the third period, I was really starting to get into a rhythm, which is a good thing because they were getting a lot of shots.
Although the Bruins seemed a step slower than the Flyers in the later half of the contest — where they were outshot 32-12 in the third period and overtime combined — they rallied behind Thomas and were able to dig deep and get the game-winner from David Krejci — after a short video review — with six minutes left in the extra session for the 3-2 win in Game 2.
The Bruins now take a 2-0 series lead on the Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, but as we all know by now dating back to last year’s series against Philly, and even the last series against the Canadiens — where they lost the first two games — the series is far from over.
“A 2-0 lead in the series doesn’t mean that the series is over,” Thomas stated. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Although Tuukka Rask had a solid playoff up until Game 4 last year against Philly, Thomas, who took back the No. 1 spot between the pipes, has given the Bruins a real shot in the arm this season with his resurgence and the team wouldn’t have been as good without him. That statement has been repeated many times during the course of the season, but his consistency throughout the season has given Boston fans reason for optimism.
There’s still work that needs to be done this series, including fixing up some pieces on the power play, which has gone 0-for-28 this postseason. But Thomas’ stability has helped the Bruins in their four overtime victories and it looks like he’s only gaining confidence every time he touches the ice.
And right now, the team can’t ask for anything more out of their Vezina Trophy Finalist.