TAMPA — A 31-save shutout during this Vezina Trophy-caliber season is a pretty normal performance for Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas.
The five-goal game he barely won Tuesday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final was as abnormal as they come for both Thomas and the Bruins’ defense.
So the goal was to get everyone back to their roots tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum. And that happened in a major way to get the Bruins a 2-1 series lead heading into Saturday’s Game 4.
“Well, [it’s] kind of a product of the way the game goes in front of me,” said Thomas after he enjoyed a calm performance in Boston’s 2-0 win two nights after he faced 41 shots in a 6-5 win. “So I was able to play more under control tonight. But a lot of that has to do with the fact that we played the way that I’m used to. So I felt comfortable in a game like that.
“I think getting the first quick goal definitely helped the team. And then not just sitting back in the third, but going out and getting that second goal made us able to stay relaxed and calm throughout the whole game.”
Head coach Claude Julien was impressed with both Thomas’ play and his humility.
“We’ve said so much about Tim, rightfully so. He’s been a great goaltender. He makes big saves when he has to. And he’s been good,” said Julien. “And I guess this is the way this team is. He’ll give credit to the people in front of him. And I think it’s very deserving, because our team did play well in front of him.
“But when they had some great opportunities he was also there to make the big saves. So I think it’s really tonight one of those games where you want to spread the credit around.”