For 40 minutes of the Boston Bruins’ 1-0 overtime win over the Washington Capitals in Game 1, Tim Thomas could have taken a nap, sipped on a pina colada, make another status update on Facebook or find another way to relax. After all, the reigning Vezina and Conn Smythe winner only saw five shots on goal through those first two periods.
In the third period, however, Thomas was stellar, again, when called upon.
“More often then not, when your team outshoots the other team heavily for a couple of periods — whether you score or not — there’s usually a time period where the tables turn,” Thomas said. “I knew they were going to get their bursts sooner or later, so I was mentally prepared for that going into the third period.”
After seeing Braden Holtby make 26 of his 29 saves through two periods — in the first career playoff start for the 22-year old — the Caps relieved their teammate in the third by pressuring the Black and Gold and Thomas with nine shots. Thomas, however, was up to the task making some clutch stops, including a toe save on Alex Ovechkin during a Bruins penalty kill that kept the game scoreless.
“I was trying to get to my angle and make sure that he couldn’t score,” Thomas said about the third period save on Ovechkin. “But when I saw the pass in that direction, I very quickly realized where it was going and who it was going to, so I’d better get over there pretty fast, and fortunately it hit my toe.”
Thomas’ save on Ovechkin was not the only highlight reel stop he made. In fact, when it mattered most, he helped set up Chris Kelly’s heroics.
With over a minute gone in overtime, Thomas made another kick save on Marcus Johansson with Greg Zanon defending. The rebound was gathered by Joe Corvo who fed it to Rolston for the breakout.
After a feed to Benoit Pouliot, Kelly gained entry into the Caps defensive zone and fired a slap shot past Holtby — that also deflected off former Bruin Dennis Wideman — to clinch the Game 1 victory at 1:18 of the extra session.
“They kind of had a play one-on-one and Timmy made a great save and kicked it out,” Kelly said about the game winner. “Joe [Corvo] had a lot of time to pass it to Rollie [Rolston]. I just happened to pick up speed and tried to put it on net. I think it went off the defenseman a little bit or changed direction a little bit.”
To Thomas, there was no question that Kelly would come up with the heroics.
“I knew he was going to score,” he said with a smile.