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Thomas Fit to be Tied

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, right, dives on the puck as defenseman Dennis Wideman (6) keeps Florida Panthers right wing Nathan Horton away from the puck during the first period of ab NHL hockey game in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Boston, MA -- Following the Boston Bruins 1-0 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers, Tim Thomas stared into the television lights and tried to explain how someone could have a shutout and still lose.

"This is a tie," said the B's goalie, flatly. "I’ve said this a million times.

"When you win a shootout you feel too good about yourself.

"And when you lose a shootout you feel too bad about yourself."

Clearly, Thomas (23 saves) has little to feel bad about.

On Thursday, Thomas earned his 15th career/Bruins shutout, his second in as many games, and has not been scored on since his good friend (and former B's forward) Glen Metropolit beat him 167:28-ago when the B's fell to Montreal in a 2-1 (again in a shootout).

The B's veteran netminder now has three shutouts on the season (1st in the NHL) and a 2.05 goals against average (2nd) and a .927 save percentage (5th).

But according to the standings, the B's have an OTL -- an overtime loss. And Boston head coach Claude Julien made his feelings on the matter perfectly clear.

"I certainly look at it as a point lost," he said. "[It was] a point we probably deserved and sometimes those things happen."

Those things seem to be happening to Thomas (and the B's) a lot.

"I don’t think you should mentally let yourself get down," said Thomas. "It stinks not being able to finish up with the two points, but it wasn’t a step back."

"Stinks" might not be the right word. It's too playground. Too polite. Too ho hum. Too vague.

Frustrating. Maddening. Those work, too. But, if we're being honest here, short of a colorful metaphor, there's not many words that would capture the situation perfectly.

However, Coach Julien had a word that he hoped the B's resembled after the loss -- hungrier.

"You never want to just turn away from a game like this and say we did everything we could," said last season's Jack Adams Award-winner. "[But] overall, we gave it everything we had.

"We created chances, we had lots of shots on net, we didn’t give them much.  I thought overall our game wasn’t bad."

Julien said that the Bruins effort did not hearken back to the uneven contests from earlier in the season.

"You can’t get on the guys for not trying," he said, "because this game -- any way you watched it -- if you didn’t know the final score you probably would have said it was our game."

"The only thing that didn’t happen is we didn’t manage to score.

"We'd prefer giving credit to the other goaltender (Vokoun, 40 saves) for keeping his team in the game and coming up big," he said.

In the end, Thomas' take on the matter was easy to discern. As was his attitude on how to deal with the loss going forward, even if he didn't address the question directly.

Asked how he dealt with the dearth of Florida shots in the second stanza (exactly one) Thomas reiterated what must be his personal philosophy -- a philosophy that has taken him from the streets of Flint, Michigan to Vermont to Finland and eventually to Boston.

"I was telling myself you’re a veteran," he said. "You’ve been around, you should be able to handle this.

"No excuses...just keep yourself ready for when you need to be.'
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