BOSTON — Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, his team now in a 2-0 series hole against Montreal, had some perfect explanations for the two goals the Canadiens scored off of “juicy” rebounds tonight.
“Well the first one, I kicked out the perfect rebound,” the Vezina Trophy favorite said in the Bruins’ TD Garden dressing room after the 3-1 loss in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Habs.
“The second one, it went off [defenseman Dennis] Seidenberg’s shin pad, it was just bad luck. It just changed the angle by about 3 or 4 inches and that’s the difference between controlling the rebound easily and having there be a rebound.”
Great, Tim. But what about the three or four near misses the Habs had after firing the puck toward his chest and then chasing after rebounds placed in big-time scoring areas? And shouldn’t the answer just be that he has to play better? This team has never needed Thomas more, especially if Zdeno Chara remains out of the lineup any longer. The Bruins don’t need scientific explanations of physics and goaltending.
Head coach Claude Julien didn’t want to comment on Thomas or any individual player after the game. But what he didn’t say about his netminder pretty much told you that he couldn’t say what he was thinking or feeling.
“If there is something that has to be dealt with, it will be dealt with internally,” said the coach when asked about Thomas, who made 23 saves in the loss. “And I think it’s important for us to do those things in the playoffs. And right now is not a time to jump all over anybody. And Tim [Thomas] has been a great goaltender for us all year and we expect him to continue to be that for us in the playoffs.”
Combined with the second goal Montreal scored in Game 1, which Thomas clearly should’ve stopped but let sneak in under his arm, tonight’s two goals off rebounds are certainly going to inspire people outside the organization to “jump all over” Thomas even if those on the inside of the team aren’t going to criticize him.
The calls for Tuukka Rask are sure to come now that Thomas has struggled and the Bruins obviously need some sort of spark.
“You take a step back and start focusing on Monday,” said Thomas about how he stays positive despite the team’s problems. “You don’t feel sorry for yourself, because no one else is going to feel sorry for you.”