Thomas/By S. Bradley

What should be a five-hour commute from Montreal back to the Bay State became an 8 1/2-hour odyssey thanks to a three-hour back-up at the U.S.-Canada border this morning.

Considering this blogger and numerous writers from other outlets were all caught up in the mess, one has to wonder if one day after pressing all the right buttons in his team’s Game 4 win Bruins head coach Claude Julien worked his magic again to make sure none of us made it back in time to question him during the Bruins’ brief media availability in Boston.

The Bruins did not practice and will get back to work tomorrow night in Game 5 against Montreal at TD Garden.

A couple things happened while I was trapped in my car:

•Obviously it’s not a surprise that Tim Thomas was among the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, as voted by the leagues’ general managers. Thomas, the 2008 winner of the award, was joined by Nashville’s Pekka Rinne and Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo in the top three.

If Thomas doesn’t win after leading the league in goals-against average and save percentage, and setting an NHL single-season record for the latter, it will be a major upset — even if Thomas hasn’t looked like an All-World goaltender in this current playoff series.

•It’s also not surprising that Andrew Ference received a $2,500 fine from the NHL for his gesture after he scored Boston’s second goal in Game 4. However, Ference somewhat surprisingly stuck to his story about the stuck glove rather than fessing up to having committed an egregious mistake. Maybe the most ridiculous part of Ference’s denial is the face he made when the gesture happened. It’s the defiant look we’re all taught to make when we first learn to flip someone off in the fifth grade.

The “accidental bird” will go down in Bruins folklore, especially if the team goes on to win the Cup. I doubt Ference’s odd explanation will do anything to dampen the Bruins fans’ enthusiasm for what he did and he should get a rousing ovation from the TD Garden faithful. I’d also expect some funny signs and maybe some folks with gloves with the fingers cut off — except for one — in the stands at Game 5. Maybe it’ll start a trend of each Bruins player using his own inappropriate goal celebration.

Log on for complete Game 5 coverage starting Saturday morning.