BOSTON — The ‘L’ that goes with the Boston Bruins’ 3-0 defeat tonight in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at TD Banknorth Garden lands on the team’s ledger first and foremost — but it also gets hung on goaltender Tim Thomas.
And that’s something we haven’t witnessed for more than a month, as Thomas had won 11 straight decisions. (Technically not a career high because it carried over from the regular season to the playoffs.) But the Carolina Hurricanes managed to put two pucks past him over a 5:02 span of the second period en route to a series-tying victory.
“I didn’t see either one of them. The second goal, I probably could’ve beat the guy to the puck. I made a judgment and I wasn’t sure,” Thomas recalled after the game. “So I played it safe and sat back. I guess I could’ve defused the play if I had went and played it. But I played it cautious. It was just kind of a messed-up play.”
The first goal weaved through traffic in front off defenseman Joe Corvo’s stick from the left point. The second one, the one Thomas spoke of, was a one-timer by Matt Cullen off a feed from Chad LaRose shorthanded. LaRose had stolen the puck at the Carolina blue line and skated end to end with it.
“I just tried to race down there and I tried to fake Thomas and tried to tuck it in,” LaRose said. “Then the puck stayed with me and Cullen was screaming and it was good because I didn’t know he was there until he yelled.”
Thomas finished the night with 22 saves. But he was just as big a part of the team’s downfall as the rest of his teammates.
“(Carolina) worked harder,” Thomas said. “They played better than they did the first game. I’m not saying we didn’t work hard, but we didn’t play as well as we did the first game and we went into this game wanting to play better than we did the first game. And I just don’t think that’s the way it work out — you know, from top to bottom.”