BOSTON (CBS) – For the top two goaltenders in the NHL, the Eastern Conference Finals has not been easy.
Both Tim Thomas and Dwayne Roloson entered the series leading the remaining netminders in goals against average. Both have had their struggles with a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals on the line.
Roloson has been pulled by Tampa Bay Lightning Guy Boucher in Games 2 and 4, with the Lightning going 1-1 in those contests. In Tampa’s 6-5 Game 2 loss, Roloson allowed all six of the Bruins goals in the first two periods. He only stopped six of the nine shots he saw in the first period of the Lightning’s 5-3 win in Game 4 before Mike Smith entered and shut down the Bruins.
Roloson stopped 94-percent of the shots he saw in the first two rounds. Against the Bruins, it’s down to 86-percent.
Boucher would not say for certain if Roloson would get the start in Game 5.
“He’s prepared,” Boucher said after Monday morning’s skate. “He got out. He’s done his morning skate like usual. He prepared yesterday. We had a good talk. And he knows what’s coming up.”
It has been just as tough on Tim Thomas, who set the NHL record for save percentage in the regular season. The Bruins goalie has not been pulled from a game this series, but has given up four goals in Games 1 and 4 and five in Game 2.
Still, his head coach has never though of taking out the probable Vezina Trophy winner.
“I think the one thing we have to recognize from Tim is that when you look back at some of the games we played, whether it was in other series and other things, Montreal was a good example of that, we’re up 3-0 and two really weak goals go in on him,” coach Claude Julien said. “He stood on his head at the end of the game and helped us win those games. We’ve seen that same thing in the 6-5 win here where we let them back in the game and he stood on his head.”
Julien, Bergeron Talk Tim Thomas
“So for me, I have a lot of confidence in Tim being able to bounce back from giving up bad goals,” Julien continued. “That’s why we haven’t pulled him yet. And there’s certainly some reasoning behind that.”
The Bruins also know they have to play better around Thomas, cutting down on turnovers that lead to goals.
“For us it’s about making sure we’re playing better in front of him,” said Patrice Bergeron. “He was left on his own in the last two periods last game.”
“Timmy’s been great for us all year, he’s still doing good,” said Bergeron. “We’re still really confident; he’s been such a force for us.”
Every game of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Bruins and Lightning can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub with pregame coverage beginning 60 minutes before each game with the Dunkin Donuts Bruins Pregame show.