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Canucks a Tough Test at Both Ends of the Ice

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
VANCOUVER -- The Canucks lead the league in goals against average (2.26) thanks in large part to the stellar play of goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider.


The last time Thomas played in Vancouver, he was in red, white and blue.
The B's Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask are right there with them in second(2.31).

Thomas leads the league in GAA (1.99), save percentage (2.27) and shutouts (tied with 7).

Luongo is amongst the leaders in goals against (7th, 2.27), wins (2nd, 28) and save percentage (5th, .924).

But should Thomas get the nod in goal tonight against Luongo, Tim said he won't be paying too much attention to what his opposite number is doing for Vancouver.

"I’m basically challenging myself to play as best I can so it’s not really about who’s at the other end  of the ice for me," he said. "It never really has been.

"When I did it that was earlier in my career when I was young, it wasn’t my most effective way [to play]."

No matter his m.o., Thomas or Rask will have to very effective for the B's against the highest scoring offense in the NHL.

"I’m going to have to work hard and just see how the game plays out," said Thomas. "You know, I have a team that can play some pretty good defense so hopefully anytime that Vancouver penetrates my job is to do the best I can."

It's rare for the Western Conference Canucks to encounter Thomas, and the local media asked Tim about his unique style of goaltending and whether the B's all-star goalie thought it might help confound the Vancouver shooters.

"Well, I guess it could," he said. "But the way games play out though with passes and stuff I don’t know if [it] matters all that much.

"You know, when you make a two-on-one pass, depending on which side of the net you’re on, there’s three or so spots open.

"So, no matter what the goalies style is you’re always trying to hit that open spot and the goalie is trying to cover that open spot," explained Thomas. "Whether you’re playing Roberto Luongo’s style or my style, we’ve both got to protect the same things in the net and the players are trying to those spots on the net."

And as far as the match-up with the Canucks is concerned, Thomas didn't think it necessary to amp up the anticipation.

"Tonight you’re playing on of the best teams in the NHL and you have to be ready to play," said Thomas, simply. "You’re playing a team that’s at the top of the standings, but we need to find a way to get the two points. 

"It gets tiring if you do it that way," said Thomas of looking at each game against a top-flight team as a touchstone. "If you approach it my way it’s a little 'funner.'

Then, with a big smile, the former English major from UVM added, "And I know funner is a great word for an English major."
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