Tim Thomas stopped a higher rate of shots — nearly 94 percent — than any other goalie in NHL history this season. He’s a Vezina Trophy finalist, and should he win the award for the league’s best goalie, it will be the second time in his Bruins career he is so honored.
But because his style is unorthodox — sometimes it could best be described as “sprawling” — and because he took himself out of position on the Canucks’ overtime winner in Game 2, a popular topic in Boston leading up to today’s game is whether he should become more conservative in net during the Cup Final.
Let’s just say such an argument won’t be heard tomorrow.
Thomas stopped 40 of 41 shots he faced tonight in the Bruins’ 8-1 rout of the Canucks at TD Garden. Vancouver’s lone tally came on a Jannik Hansen goal at 13:51 of the third period, when the Bruins held a 5-0 lead. He was steady and sensational . . . just as he has been pretty much the entire season.
“I was happy, you know, with at least the base of how I was playing in the first two games,” said Thomas, choosing his words carefully when asked if he felt like he was vindicated by his performance. “I mean, I had a 1.50 goals-against in regulation in the first two games, so. I think I’d rather listen to my goalie coach, Bob Essensa, than
Julien said Thomas did stay closer to the net tonight than he often does, but that was in part because the Bruins defense limited Vancouver’s quality chances.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of keeping them on the outside,” Julien said. “We didn’t give them those opportunities coming with lots of speed and shooting and doing things they did in the other games. So I think Timmy just adjusted to the game.”
Julien emphasized that Thomas took his usual inimitable approach to protecting the net.
“He didn’t change his style. Let’s not get this wrong here,” Julien said. “He just played the way he had to play. Tonight was a night where he could stay in his net a little bit more. There’s going to be nights when he has to come out and challenge, and that’s the way he is.”
Thomas summed up his performance — and the heat he’d taken the past two days — with a retort as sharp as his performance.
“I’ve got a pretty good idea of how to play goalie,” he said. “I’m not going to be taking advice at this time.”