BOSTON — Through four games of the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas has allowed 13 goals.
His counterpart Dwayne Roloson has surrendered just one more, 14, in the same number of games. But Roloson has been pulled from two games and heading into tonight’s Game 5 is a question mark to get the start at the TD Garden.
Today after his team’s morning skate Bruins head coach Claude Julien explained why he’s stuck with Thomas through thick and thin, not just in this series but the entire postseason.
“Well I think the one thing we have to recognize from Tim is when you look back at some of the games that we’ve played, whether it was in other series and other things, Montreal was a good example of that. We’re up 3-0 and two really weak goals go in on him. He stood on his head at the end of the game and helped us win those games,” said Julien. “And we’ve seen that same thing in that 6-5 win here [Game 2 vs. Tampa Bay] where we let them back into the game. He stood on his head.
“So for me, I had a lot of confidence in Tim being able to bounce back from giving up bad goals. And that’s why we haven’t pulled him yet. And there’s certainly some reasoning behind that.”
The Lightning have beaten Thomas, the expected winner of the Vezina Trophy for the second time in three years, twice in this series. Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher, however, wants his team to do a better job of solving Boston’s netminder.
“He’s a very confident goaltender. … And we’ve had some good moments, but we’ve had some where it didn’t pan out for us, and we’re expecting him to be at his best tonight,” said Boucher. “So certainly [I’m] not ready to say that we’ve done very well against him. If we had done very well against him, we’d be up in this series, so we haven’t.”
The Lightning scored four times against the NHL single-season save percentage record holder. Any more goals against Thomas and not only will the Lightning probably win, they might even chase him from the crease.