BOSTON - Tim Thomas
woke up this morning with a 13-2-1 record. He leads the NHL in goals against average (1.44), save percentage (.956) and shutouts (5). He is third in wins and has helped put the Boston Bruins at the top of the league in team GAA (1.86).
|Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, left, covers the face of Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis, right, after making a save during the first period of their NHL hockey game in Boston, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) |
And against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Thomas even earned an assist in the B's 8-1 win on Thursday night in TD Garden.
"It’s nice," said Thomas of the Black & Gold's offensive output. "It’s nice too for the guys to get rewarded.
"There were times this year when it hasn’t gone in for us, and this is our second night in a row working really hard and it’s nice to see those guys getting rewarded."
Thomas, on the other hand, keeps getting rewarded with superlatives and accolades -- but the best gift on Thursday came when David Krejci
put the B's in the lead at 10:52 of the first.
"We started out playing real good right away," said Thomas. "There wasn’t a big scramble in the first minute like last night in Philadelphia.
"There were a couple of minutes in I think before I got a shot."
But on a night where the score was lopsided, the shot totals were not. Thomas made 37 stops en route to the victory.
"Yeah, we’ve been pretty good at it with the lead this year. It is important to keep that good habit," said Thomas, who said he tried to keep his focus throughout the blowout. "I mean, you don’t want to use as much physical energy but I wanted to play good technique all the way through.
"That’s what I was thinking actually."
Unfortunately for fans in Florida, there were several moments where Tampa Bay fans might be wondering what their goaltender, Mike Smith (34:34, 5 goals against, 17 saves), was thinking. The Bolts goalie fought the puck for much of the night and was pulled during the third period afer a couple of gaffes and with the score getting out of hand.
When asked if he had any sympathy for his fellow netminder, Boston's affable but honest goalie had a smile craw across his now mustachioed face as he thought for a moment.
"I don’t really think about it all that much as far as sensitivity for the other goalie," said Thomas. "I doubt that when it happens to me that other goalies are sympathetic for me.
"I’m just happy, especially [when] it’s 4-1 going into the third, in the NHL it’s a three-goal lead especially against a team with a good offense you’re not completely safe.
"For us to go out and get that fifth goal right away and to show that we’re not just going to sit back and play defense, I think that was good for us," he said.
What was also good for the Bruins was the return of Marc Savard
. Before the game, the goalie allowed the center to lead the team onto the ice.
"I didn’t know you guys realized that," said Thomas to an observant press corps. "I hope you didn’t see me fall going out onto the ice for Wheeler’s goal. There was a piece of tape on my skate [laughter].
"But, it was just a couple minutes before we went out. It was just a joke. Hopefully I helped Savvy to relax a little bit because you are probably a little bit nervous after a long time like that and that was hopefully a way top get the jitters out."
Jitters isn't something that Thomas worries about these days. Tim was asked whether this season has been reminiscent of his 2008-09 Vezina Trophy performance.
"Somewhat, every year is different," he said. "As far as the way I felt in a lot of games this year, yeah actually it is."