BOSTON (AP/CBS) — Tim Thomas drifted to the front of the crease to cut down the angle, leaving him out of position when the shot went wide to his right, off the boards and right to Lightning forward Steve Downie.

The Boston Bruins goalie reached back, swung his stick at the puck and caught it with the bottom edge of his blade, knocking it away to protect a one-goal lead and give the Bruins a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay that left them one win away from their first Stanley Cup finals since 1990.

“It was just reaction and, you know, desperation,” Thomas said after stopping 33 shots Monday night– none bigger than Downie’s with about 11 minutes left. “I’ll admit I got a little bit lucky there.”

Tim Thomas On Steve Downie Save

Thomas bounced back after allowing four straight goals in Game 4 and may have saved the season when he stopped Downie on the edge of the crease. The crowd cheered each time it was shown from a different angle on the scoreboard, and Thomas could even be seen smiling through his mask when the camera cut to him.

“That’s just a confident swagger. He definitely has that,” Bruins forward Chris Kelly said. “It’s a game. You’ve got to have fun with it. It’s a great opportunity for all of us. If you’re not going to enjoy it, you might regret it.”

Bruins Talk About Thomas’ Amazing Stick Save

“He seems to be so calm out there,” forward Brad Marchand said. “And even the last half of the game, you saw some of the saves he was making. You kind a look at him and you get a sense of confidence just from the way he stands there and he’s just so poised and calm in situations like that. I think that’s why he’s such a great goalie. Those big moments when you need him, he’s calm and relaxed and he’s confident, and that’s big for us.”

“It’s a momentum changer,” Patrice Bergeron said of the stop. “It turned the whole game around.”

“It’s unbelievable some of the saves Timmy makes,” center Chris Kelly said. “He’s a pleasure to have. I think every guy in this cannot say enough good things about him.”

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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