Boston, MA -
The scoreboard may not have reflected it, but Tim Thomas
had a great Saturday night in goal. Despite the 3-1 loss, Thomas proved he’s getting more comfortable with every game.
“This game [was] the closest I’ve come to getting back to NHL level, just in time for the season,” he said after the game. “I’ve taken a step forward in each game, and I thought tonight’s was the closest that I’ve gotten to getting back to the level that I want to be at.
“But I’m still trying to build every day,” he added.
Thomas also impressed the teammates who played in front of him during the night.
“He played well – really well,” said Zdeno Chara
. “He kept us in the game, especially in the first period,” during which the B’s were outshot by the Islanders, 12 shots to four.
“It was good to see him out there making some key saves for us,” added Milan Lucic
But there was one shot, the Islanders second tally, by Jon Sim, that Thomas reflected on, admitting that he knew he couldn’t have stopped it.
“It was lucky, but it was going low blocker,” he explained. “He was just trying to catch the pass.
"It went off his stick and went totally off the other shoulder….I think I waved at it a couple times.”
And to those worried about the competition between Thomas and Manny Fernandez for the “first spot” in goal -- stop.
“It’s necessary at this level to have two good goalies,” Thomas said, echoing the words of head coach Claude Julien from before the game. “One might get the opportunity to contribute more than the other, based on what’s going on, but both of them need to play well when they get the chance, or else you’re not going to make the playoffs.”
So whether he’s in net the first night or on the bench in case of emergency, Thomas is ready for the season with a plan for making it through the 82 games.
“It comes quick enough…and it’s a long season,” he said. “You don’t want to get too high, don’t want to get too low.
“You don’t want to anticipate too much.”
But with Thomas in mind, it's hard not to anticipate some great saves in the very near future.