The Boston Bruins didn’t look like a team that would eventually finish the regular season with the best record in the Eastern Conference when they left for their road trip to Western Canada with a 3-3-3 record in late October.
But goaltender Tim Thomas made sure to get his Vezina Trophy-worthy campaign off and running in Edmonton Oct. 27, and that set off a chain reaction that started molding the Bruins into a Stanley Cup contender. Thomas’ shutout of the Oilers ranks at No. 9 on my list of the Bruins’ top 10 victories of the 2008-09 regular season.
Through the first two periods, Thomas faced and stopped just 15 shots, while his teammates peppered Oilers netminder Dwayne Roloson with 24 shots. But in the third period, things evened out — as Edmonton outshot Boston, 12-10. Still, neither goaltender blinked and the game went to overtime as a scoreless tie.
Looking for their first non-regulation win of the season, the Bruins caught a break 2:35 into the extra session when Shawn Horcoff was called for hooking. The Bruins’ power play, already 0-for-2 on the night, carried the play throughout the man-advantage. But defenseman Dennis Wideman missed the net on three straight scoring attempts during the 4-on-3. However, when Wideman made sure the fourth time was a charm with a wrist shot into the top corner, the Bruins had their two points and Thomas had his first shutout of the season.
Thomas, you’ll remember, then blanked Vancouver the next night, as the Bruins established themselves as fearsome foes on the road as well as at home.