BOSTON – He was a victim of bad turnovers in the first two games, both of which led to game-winning goals by the Canucks. But in the last two games a Bruins offensive explosion, out scoring their opponents 12-1 at the TD Garden gave him a bit of breathing room.
In any event, goaltender Tim Thomas, obviously, has been beneficial to the Bruins’ run. And in Game 4, he posted his third shutout of the postseason – making 38 saves in Boston’s 4-0 win Wednesday night (a game that saw Roberto Luongo pulled in the third period) – helping the Black and Gold even the series at two games apiece.
Moreover, those two heartbreaking losses up north were something that Thomas, and the team put on the back burner (something they have talked about all year).
“We learned the lessons throughout the seasons that you have to put the games you lost behind you,” Thomas said. “I think we did a good job doing that between Game 2 and Game 3 and I think we did a good job of that between Game 3 and Game 4. Just because we won Game 3 didn’t mean we were going to go out there and have a cakewalk.”
Could playing Vancouver in the Cup Finals be something that Thomas hoped for? Well judging by his career numbers against the Canucks, that seems to be a fair assumption.
Thomas, however, admits that there’s no secret to his success against the Canucks.
“There’s no secret,” he said. “But I can tell you that any success that I’ve had in this series against them is because I’ve worked extremely hard, and that’s the way I approach it.”
There’s no denying that Thomas has indeed worked hard whether it’s stopping the puck or stopping the opposition from gaining too much ground in his crease.
In Game 3, the Bruins netminder made a statement to Henrik Sedin when he was roaming around in his paint looking to draw contact. Instead, Sedin got the worse of it when Thomas flattened him on the ice.
Well, in similar fashion, Thomas whacked Boston’s newest villain, Alex Burrows, late in the third period with the Canucks on the power play.
Moments after Brad Marchand (serving minors for holding and tripping) and Adam McQuaid (called for a 10-minute misconduct) were sent to the box at 17:33, the Bruins netminder took a whack at Burrows’ feet after the Canucks forward knocked Thomas’ stick out of his possession – something Vancouver did earlier in the game too.
Both Thomas (slashing) and Burrows (cross-checking) were called for penalties at 18:09 of the final stanza.
“They’d been getting into the butt end of my stick. They did it a couple of times on the power play in the first period,” Thomas admitted about the events before the incident.
“That was like the third time they had hit the butt end on that power play. On the 6-on-4 we were up 4-0 and I thought I’d give him a little love tap and let him [Burrows] know that ‘I know what you’re doing, I’m just not going to let you do it forever.’ So that’s all it was. It was just a typical battle.”
In similar fashion, Shawn Thornton, viewed it as part of the intensity we’ve seen throughout the series.
“It’s playoff hockey. Stuff like that is going to happen every now and again,” said Thornton, who served Thomas’ minor. “I’m sure the fans got a kick out of it or they seemed to.”
Much like their goaltender, the Bruins are a resilient bunch and have overcome a lot of adversity throughout the postseason.
The Bruins hope to use that resiliency to their advantage in Game 5 and answer the challenge of defeating the Canucks in front of a hostile crowd at Rogers Arena Friday night, and move them one step closer to capturing Lord’s Stanley in front of their home crowd for Game 6.
“Every time we’ve faced adversity as a team, we’ve rose to the challenge,” Thomas said. “We needed to do that because we were down 2-0. Now we’ve won two games. The challenge for us is to keep doing that.”
This post also appeared on Inside Hockey