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Best Start Ever

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
WASHINGTON, DC -- Following his game Wednesday night, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas continued the ritual.

Reporters asked him questions. Tim answered them with an adopted Yankee sense of humor and a shrug.

Of his owning the Bruins record for best start by a goalie, Thomas said, "Yeah? Okay. Because I have no idea what the record would be...overall. It's nice. It's nice to be 7-0, you know?"

A seven game win streak for the B's and a personal 7-0 record is pretty nice. Thomas' success is pretty nice. There is little that Thomas can do to explain his start, so he muddles through the questions.

"This was a tough game," he said. "Obviously, we were very happy with the way that we played in the first period, getting those short-handed goals.

"But after that, we got a little bit sloppy, took a lot of penalties, and it ended up a lot of time in our zone and a lot of work. Even if they weren't getting shots, you've just got to be on your toes and ready for everything."

Thomas said it was a learning experience.

"Yeah. Yeah. And I love the learning experiences when you win," number 30 said with a smile. "Those are great.

We always talk about playing a sixty minute game. In reality, it's hard to do. Especially when you get up 4-0. - Tim Thomas
"But we can take some good out of it. We did some really good things, but I think we can take some things that we can learn."

Here was the good stuff. Thomas, who simply doesn't talk like many of his fellow professional athletes, let fly with some of the hardscrabble wisdom that seems to fuel the goalie's fire and probably has much to do with how well the entire Bruins squad has played since Prague.

"We always talk about playing a sixty minute game," said Thomas. "In reality, it's hard to do. Especially when you get up 4-0.

"One more funny bounce or something, and it's a really tight game, so you can't let your foot off the gas pedal."

The Black & Gold have stomped on that pedal and have avoided all but two bumps in the road. There were moments in Buffalo where the game felt as if it might be wrested away from Boston, but Thomas was there again and again and again.

And 33 saves later, the Bruins were 7-2-0.

"Having beat them in the playoffs last year, we had a feeling they might be looking for some revenge," said Thomas. "They had motivation from that direction.

"You know, they've had a slow start, but rumor on the street was that they were trying to turn the page and start over again.

"We don't want to be the team that lets them do that."

But even in the wake of the best start by a B's goalie -- ever -- Thomas remained even-keeled about the whole affair. Asked if this was his best start ever, Thomas was quick to say, "No."

"I mean, I had the lock out year," said Thomas.

"In the NHL, yes. [But] the lock-out year [in Finland], I had five shut outs in the first ten games," said Thomas. "I don't know exact stats or anything like that, but it was kind of something similar to this, and I was able to ride that the whole year."

Is it too much to believe that Thomas and the Bruins can continue to play this way indefinitely? Maybe, but there's at least one guy who believes enough in himself to give it a go.

"I hope the same thing happens," said Thomas. "Obviously, you're going to have some ups and downs. It's impossible not to.

"But you know, it obviously couldn't start better. We want to, or at least I personally want to keep it going, and I'm sure everyone else does, too."
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