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Two Great Games for Tim

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- By all accounts, and despite his English degree from the University of Vermont, Tim Thomas does not read the newspaper (or watch/listen to sports programming, read blogs, Twitter or what have you).


But one has to wonder if somebody, somewhere, printed out a translation of an article from Radio-Canada.ca that talked about Devils goalie Martin Brodeur's belief that this season Carey Price is the best goalie in the NHL and slipped it into his locker.

After all, the story, published in French by Jean-François Chaumont says that just two hours before Brodeur (a Montreal native) took the ice against the Black & Gold, the sure-fire Hockey Hall of Famer was heaping praise on Price, the bleu, blanc et rouge netminder.

Brodeur, arguably and statistically speaking, the top goaltender in NHL history said that Price shouldn't have too much difficulty achieving the vaunted prize based on his statistics and the fact that Thomas has not played enough games.

Two games later, however, Thomas had bested both Brodeur and Price (who was pulled in the third period after allowing five goals) and had allowed just one goal, lowered his league best goals against average to 2.02 (Price is 10th at 2.40), his save percentage to .983 (Price is 9th at .921) and tied Price at second in shutouts with eight.

Granted, Thomas (51 games) hasn't played in as many games as the Montreal netminder (66 games), but Thomas stands ninth in victories (31) just three behind Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, Detroit's Jimmy Howard, Phoenix's Ilya Bryzgalov and Price, league leaders with 34 wins.

Incidentally, Thomas' win percentage is .608, while Price's is .515.

It’s always nice to beat Montreal. Over the years, there’s been times with great success against them, and there’s been times where they’ve had more success against us. They’re chasing us for a playoff spot, and this being the last time we play them before the playoffs...it’s a great win. I’m very happy with the way it turned out." - Tim Thomas
For his part, Thomas, the 2009 Vezina Trophy winner and the winning goaltender in the last three NHL All-Star games, was soaking up the feeling following his 25th career shutout -- the first against the Canadiens in his storybook career.

"I didn’t realize it was my first, I didn’t know that," said the Bruins goalie of the shutout, which placed him next to Byron Dafoe for 5th on the all-time Bruins list. "Having said that, it’s the 25th of my career, and it’s a memorable one.

"I’ve been on the other end of the spectrum over the years, playing against Montreal.

"It’s a nice victory I’ll remember forever," he said.

Some of Thomas' work will go unnoticed in the wake of the Bruins touchdown and point-after-touchdown against the Habs, but Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien certainly didn't miss an opportunity to praise his starter's successful rebound.

"Well I think he’s picking up his game," said Julien. "Again, we gave him a little bit of rest and you could see at one point he really needed it.

"And I think the last two games he’s been pretty solid. And as you mentioned tonight, with the type of lead that we had, he may not have had to be good, but he was good.

"And when he was tested, and they had some good opportunities, he came up with the big saves," he said.

Thomas praised his teammates for their help against New Jersey and Montreal.

Thomas offers a stick to a young fan after the Bruins' 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils in an NHL hockey game in Boston on Tuesday, March 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
"The team played really well in front of me the last two games," he said. "They kept the chances to a minimum and allowed me to see the shots and keep them to the outside.

"That made my job a lot easier in the last two games, so it’s allowing me to build some confidence and start to feel comfortable.

"I never felt bad, like I was off track...but having success -- success breeds success," he said.

Thomas' teammates often speak of his spectacular plays between the pipes, but this time it was Thomas who was talking about his view of the ice.

The B's netminder said he enjoyed watching his teammates in action.

"It’s a memorable one, not so much because I had that much work," said Thomas. "I did have to do some, but, the beauty of [it was] watching the whole game in front of me, and it was a whole game that the crowd could enjoy themselves through.

"Never really too much pins and needles after a while, because we took the lead and we never gave it up."

And more than likely, even if Brodeur's statements had been shown to Tim, the "W" next to the Montreal on the B's March 24th entry in the schedule meant more than just about anything else.

"It’s always nice to beat Montreal," he said. "Over the years, there’s been times with great success against them, and there’s been times where they’ve had more success against us.

"They’re chasing us for a playoff spot, and this being the last time we play them before the playoffs I believe, it’s a great win.

"I’m very happy with the way it turned out," he said.

And hopefully, come NHL awards time, Thomas and all of New England will be happy, too.
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