BOSTON (CBS) – Tim Thomas has not only led the Boston Bruins to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, it is all but certain he will make NHL history when he hits the ice on Wednesday.
With 761 saves in the playoffs, Thomas is just one away from setting a new NHL record. He is also a lock to capture the Conn Smyth trophy for playoff MVP, even if the Bruins do not come out victorious Wednesday night. It would be just the sixth time a player on the losing-end of things has won the award, the last time coming in 2003 when Anaheim Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere won it against the New Jersey Devils.
But for Thomas, he is just living in the moment.
“I’m very happy to be here and very happy to have this opportunity,” said Thomas after his 36-save Game 6. “I’m going to try to embrace that opportunity and take the same attitude that I’ve taken throughout the whole playoffs. Hopefully that will get me through that one last game to get to the goal that we’ve been shooting for all year-long.”
Thomas Talks Run, Game 7
“He’s been great for us all playoffs and all season. We don’t expect anything less from him,” said Michael Ryder. “He’s one of the factors why we’re here. For him to go in there, I think he’s going to be excited. We all are and we’re going to play hard for him.
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“He’s one of our leaders on the team and one of our top players. We know he is going to make the save and it just gives us confidence to play,” said Ryder.
“I think he’s been in the zone for the whole playoffs and you can barely count on one hand how many bad goals he’s given up in this whole playoffs,” said Coach Claude Julien. “That speaks volumes for him. He’s come in and decided just to focus on his play and nothing else. He’s been outstanding for us and we all know the teams that normally win the Stanley Cup usually have unbelievable goaltending. We feel like we’ve got that.”
Bruins Talking Timmy
“We have a lot of confidence in Tim. He’s played great here since day one, and he’s going to compete and battle until the end,” said Milan Lucic.
Thomas has been the most consistent performer on the ice for the Bruins throughout the playoffs. He has a .937 save percentage, which has jumped up to .962 in the Finals. He has three postseason shutouts, but none are as impressive as his 52 save effort in Game 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Thomas stopped 46 straight en route to the Bruins 3-2 overtime victory. Against Vancouver, he went 110 minutes and 42 seconds between goals from the end of Game 3 to Game 5.
It is an incredible run for the Bruins netminder, one the 37-year-old does not think he has matched ever.
“Well, at this level in the NHL, you know, if you want to call it a “streak” that I’ve had, I’ve had some good runs in different years and in different leagues,” he said. “My first year in Finland, I won the championship there and I had a really good run. I was actually 9-0 in the playoffs and .962 save percentage or something like that.”
But nothing compares to what Thomas is doing right now, against the best talent to hit the ice.
“This is a totally different level,” he said. “You’re playing against the best players in the world. That was high-quality hockey in Finland, but this is a whole different ballgame.”
Bruins DieHard: Leave It All On Ice In Game 7
Thomas has always been seen as a classy individual and respected by his teammates and opposition (most of the time) alike. Although he did not say so publicly, he was miffed when Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo took a shot at him after Vancouver’s 1-0 Game 5 win, all-but bashing Thomas for his style of play away from the net.
Luongo was pulled after just eight minutes in Game 6, giving up three goals on eight shots. Thomas was asked about it, but would not comment after the game.
“I don’t know. I’ve been through a lot of experiences but that’s not one of them,” he said. “So it’s not something I can personally speak about. I’m not really going to comment on it because I have no personal experience in it.”
98.5 The Sports Hub is the only local station to listen to every game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Coverage begins an hour before each game with the Bruins Pregame show hosted by Dave Goucher & Bob Beers. Game 7 will also be simulcast on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 am.