Bruins netminder Tim Thomas turned aside 34 of the 35 shots he faced to carry Boston to a 3-1 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday night and while the veteran backstop wouldn't anoint this his finest game of the year, he confirmed it might have been the most fun of the season.
"I probably won't look at the film, but I felt good and it was a fun game to play with so much emotion in the crowd," said Thomas. "It wasn't a blowout. Obviously, it was right down to the last minute and a half, so it was one of the funnest games I've played this year."
Thomas tried to downplay the significance of a Boston-Montreal matchup, but couldn't escape the playoff atmosphere during the game.
"I talked a lot before the game, this morning and yesterday, about how we need to approach it like any other game, but you know when the crowd gets into it like that, and the teams play with that much energy it felt a lot more like the playoffs last year," said Thomas.
Even with a monster effort from Zdeno Chara, Boston coach Claude Julien wouldn't argue that Thomas was the first start of the game.
"I think being the first star was well deserved," said Julien. "I think I would split those between him and Zdeno, to be honest with you. He made some outstanding saves at key times and he was on top of his game. We needed that type of performance tonight in order to win and he gave it to us."
Thomas also got a lot of support in the locker room for standing up to Andrei Kostitsyn, who had checked Aaron Ward from behind drawing a five-minute major in the second period.
"Yeah, I heard the hit and... I looked over, I saw Wardo down and the first thing that went to my mind was (Patrice) Bergeron and Andrew Alberts last year. Having seen the replay now, it was nowhere near as bad of a hit, but I didn't know that at the time. You just react, you see a man down, it's instinct."
For more reaction from Thomas, check out the video at the top of this entry.