MONTREAL — Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is now a perfect 2-0 in All-Star games, as he earned the victory with two shootout saves in a 12-11 victory by the Eastern Conference over the Western Conference at the 2009 NHL All-Star Game tonight at Bell Centre.
Thomas had to shutdown Phoenix’s Shane Doan (who won the elimination shootout Saturday night) and Columbus’ Rick Nash to make sure goals by Montreal’s Alexei Kovalev and Alexander Ovechkin would be enough to win the shootout, 2-0.
“It’s an All-Star Game, you want to have fun but you don’t want to really put yourself in positions where you can hurt yourself,” said Thomas after the victory. “But at that point in a tie game, 19,500 fans, you’ve got to do it.”
Thomas held on for a one-goal victory in last year’s All-Star Game in Atlanta. This year he said it “took last year to a new level.” But he wasn’t the only one worried about the nail-biter of a game. Bruins head coach Claude Julien wasn’t as concerned about the All-Star win as getting back to the regular season with his goaltender in one piece.
“The funny part is, as soon as the second period ended, it was a tie game, and the first thing he did was stand up and he looked at me. We had that talk this morning, he said, ‘you know me. If I go in the third, I’m going to want to win this game,'” said Julien. “So he basically gave me that look with the grin and I just said, ‘oh boy.’ And on top of that, we got a shootout. The last thing I need right now is to put my goalie on IR for Tuesday’s game.”
There would’ve been no need for overtime or a shootout had Thomas not made one of his patented, body-sacrificing saves late in regulation when he thwarted a point-blank attempt by Calgary sniper Jarome Iginla — moving from his far left to his far right.
“Joe Thornton was in the slot and I had half second to think he’s either going to pass it or go high glove. So I was getting my glove up just in case he shot high glove. And he did the pass part. … It was just reaction,” said the goaltender.
Now it’s back to the real world for Thomas, who gets back into to action Tuesday. Ovechkin will be an opponent again — that’ll really get Thomas’ juices flowing.