BOSTON -- Nobody on the Bruins wanted to hear the media criticize Tim Thomas game after their Game 2 overtime loss.
At least, thats what they told the media on Sunday, a day before Game 3.
Everybody in the Boston organization knows what type of player and person Thomas is. They know that the only reason hes carried his team to the Stanley Cup Finals, while making a strong case for his second Vezina Trophy in three years at the age of 37, mind you is because he thrives on a me-vs.-the-world mentality.
Thomas is one of the best goaltenders in the National Hockey League in this late stage of his career because he enjoys proving people wrong.
So when the media asked him on Monday if he felt he needed to change his style after the way he lunged out of the net in overtime on Saturday night in Vancouver Thomas was respectfully blunt.
I have a pretty good idea of how to play goalie, he said. Im not going to be taking suggestions or advice at this time. So Im just going to keep playing the way I have.
Thomas had a chip on his shoulder. As well he should have.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said it was ridiculous that Thomas style was even being questioned.
Maybe it was ridiculous. But the Bruins can say what they want. They know how Thomas plays when hes being questioned, and the criticism was pouring down on Causeway Street entering Monday nights Game 3.
As they probably expected, Thomas responded by making 40 saves in an 8-1 win in Game 3 at the TD Garden.
And afterwards, the Bruins goaltender still carried that chip on his shoulder.
I was happy with at least the base of how I was playing in the first two games, said Thomas. I mean, I had a 1.5 goals-against in regulation the first two games, so I think Id rather listen my goalie coach Bob Essensa over anything else.
Thomas did seem more like a stay-at-home goaltender on Monday than he did during Alex Burrows rush down the left wing 11 seconds into overtime of Game 2. But that wasnt because he changed anything about his style. His defense did a much better job of not letting those breakdowns happen, making sure that the chances Vancouver had werent all coming from breakaways down the wing.
He had a reason tonight to stay in his net, said Julien after the Game 3 win. I thought we did a pretty good job of keeping them on the outside. We didnt give them those opportunities, coming with lots of speed and shooting and doing things they did in the other games. So I think Timmy just adjusted to the game.
Thats why we talked about Timmys game. He didnt change his style. Lets not get this wrong here. He just played the way he had to play. Tonight was a night where he could stay in his net a little bit more. Theres going to be nights when he has to come out and challenge, and thats the way he is.
The one goal Thomas allowed was off the stick of Jannik Hansen, with 6:07 left to play in the game. It was a one-timer from the left post that Thomas had no chance on, which cut Bostons lead to 5-1.
Other than that, Thomas was at his best in Game 3. And he needed to be, because the Canucks had eight power plays. And as it always goes, your goaltender is your best penalty killer.
That first period was very tight. It was a close game, and even through the second, there were some really good chances for the Canucks, said Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference. The amount of power plays they had tonight, your goalie is big in those kind of games. He showed up huge.
And the Bruins know that all the criticisms and suggestions about Thomas style that came up after Game 2, will only make him better.
Hes going to beat to his own drum, no matter what anybody says, said Ference after Game 3. I mean, that definitely brought a smile to a few guys in this locker room, to hear that suggestion.
And for good reason.
Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard