Boston, MA --
On Monday night, following the Bruins 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien was thinking about goaltending.
“He’s been playing well for us, and I can’t say enough about the guy,” said Julien of the evening's starter, Tim Thomas
. “Since day one he’s been great.
“And our other goaltender has done the job (too).
“One of the reasons you win hockey games is (that) your goaltenders are good and we’ve got two of them right now that are doing a great job.”
“One of the reasons you win hockey games is (that) your goaltenders are good and we’ve got two of them right now that are doing a great job.” - Claude Julien
The other goaltender, of course, is Manny Fernandez who is currently undefeated in his last three games.
Last week, the Bruins were in a similar situation as the Leafs, with lots of travel and little rest and a home game against a division opponent – the Montreal Canadiens.
Thomas had been strong in net the night before in a win against Chicago, but Julien said he wanted a “fresh goaltender” in case the Habs game got rough.
“We had to give ourselves an edge somewhere,” said Julien at the time, before adding that, as a coach, he is fortunate to even have the choice between two excellent goalies.
“It’s important for me to try and handle it in a way where both of them maintain that standard of goaltending,” he said. “They both deserve to play, but we all know goaltenders like to play as much as they can, and right now, they’re both responding.
|Thomas States His Case |
|In the end, politicians know that elections are all about results. Hockey players think the same thing about berths to the NHL All-Star Game. So, despite running a disappointing fifth in the Eastern Conference voting for goaltending, Boston goalie Tim Thomas just keeps plugging along, hoping to sway the electorate with his undeniable history of delivering results – often against long odds. More... || |
“Not only that, I think they’re both very supportive of each other, and that’s something that’s important.”
Together, Fernandez and Thomas have the Bruins competing for the goals-against-average title. Boston, with a 2.00 GAA trail the Minnesota Wild by just .02.
“The last two games were pretty big challenges,” said Fernandez after the Montreal game. “I don’t try to make too much of it, just go out there and give it everything I’ve got.”
Keeping it simple has worked well for the goalie, who is 4-0-1 in his last five starts, with a goals against average of 2.31 and a save percentage of .919.
“I’m having a blast. It’s fun when you’re winning,” Fernandez said. “We have shown a lot of character, and we have pulled through some tough times. It just seems like we are getting on a roll.”
Although he made 27 saves against the Habs, and let just one shot by Saku Koivu through, Manny was giving most of the credit to the teammates playing in front of him.
“The team was amazing tonight,” he said. “We didn’t give them much. We skated with them and matched their speed.”
His view from the bench and from the net lets him see what the team’s been doing well lately.
“Our PK is doing well, and our power play is giving us chances. We have scored some great goals,” Fernandez said. “We just have to keep working, keep doing what we’re doing now…so we don’t slump and just stay at this level.”
|Manny Fernandez |
That night, Fernandez also got a pretty good look at the fight between Milan Lucic
and Michael Komisarek.
“I had some great tickets,” he joked. “Any time you start playing physical like that, the crowd loves it. A guy like that is going to bring people to their feet.”
These days, both of Boston’s goalies are doing the same exact thing.