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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins are a very confident bunch heading into their Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It helps that they have one of the best goaltenders in the game.
“I can’t say enough about that guy,” David Krejci said of Tim Thomas. “He’s been the best goalie in the world lately. He kept us in so many games; I hope he can keep it going.”
“I think Timmy right now is in the zone,” coach Claude Julien said. “He’s very focused. When I say ‘focused,’ he’s also calm. I watched him today in practice. Very confident. That’s what it’s all about when it comes to goaltending. When a guy is feeling good about his game and confident, he can do almost anything. Tim is there right now.”
He was there against the Philadelphia Flyers in the East Semis, stopping 142 of the 149 shots that came his way in the four-game sweep. He single handedly won Boston Game 2 when he made 52 saves in the 3-2 overtime win, including 46 straight to close out the game.
The Bruins are confident in Thomas, and the feeling is mutual.
“It is something that built all year long,” Thomas said of his team. “We would show signs of it at times early in the season. It’s a tough grind throughout the regular season where you’re not always able to play at your top level.”
Thomas On What Bruins Are Made Of
“Even during those times, we were finding ways to win games,” Thomas continued. “That’s very important. We had a few comebacks during the regular season, which has served us well, because we used that in the playoffs. So I think it was a confidence that grew throughout the year.”
“Till you get to playoffs, you don’t really know for sure what you have as a group,” the 37-year-old netminder said. “I think that the first round against Montréal was a testing-ground for us. We started it out right away from some adversity, getting down in the series 2-0. We started to find out what we were made of. Come to find out, we’re made of some pretty stern stuff. We have a lot of the things that it takes to win a championship, hopefully all of them.”
Thomas’ 2.03 goals against average in the playoffs is second only to Tampa’s Dwayne Roloson 2.01 GAA. Both veterans are showing that their experience outweighs their age during the postseason.
“I think if age is a factor in any way, it’s actually a benefit to both of us,” said Thomas of himself and the 41-year-old Roloson. “The experiences that we’ve been through just to get to these points in our career, they actually do help. They do help in this playoff-type atmosphere.”
Every game of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Bruins and Lightning can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes before each game with the Dunkin Donuts Bruins Pregame show