BOSTON -- It was a toss up for more than 56 minutes. One of the goalies was going to skate off the ice with a hard-earned win, the other with an oh-so-close loss.
Both Tim Thomas and Jose Theodore played well enough to take home the W, but with less than three minutes left to go, Tomas Kopecky found a way to get by Thomas for the Florida Panthers victory.
"The guy came down the wing and took the shot," Thomas said following the Bruins 2-0 loss. "The rebound kind of stuck there. I thought it was going to come off my pad a little harder on that. Sometimes it doesn't.But I believe on my first push to get over there, my foot slipped. I thought my 'D' was going to clear it, so I relaxed but then I realized he missed it and I didn't have time to get back over before Kopecky got a stick on it."
Theodore finished the night making 40 saves in net; Thomas made 28 (the Panthers' second goal from Kris Versteeg was an empty netter). The Bruins gave credit to Theodore after the game and were proud of their goalie as well.
Both goaltenders played well, including ours, even if that goal went in at the end, said Bruins coach Claude Julien. He made the save and we had two guys there who could have cleared the rebound, and we didnt. Im certainly not disappointed with his effort. He did what he had to do.
Kopecky knew he would have to work for a goal against Thomas. Scoring the game-winner against him didnt come easily.
I just wanted to make sure I got everything I had on it because hes a really good goalie, never gives up any rebounds, loose rebounds, Kopecky explained. So I just wanted to get it up and drive the net. We knew hes going to be playing hard. We knew its going to be a tight game, so after the second period we just said we need to stay patient.
Yet as time began to wind down, Thomas saw a heightened sense of urgency among both teams.
I noticed it because they get down toward the end there and they realize that one goal could win the game, he said. So they start pressing. Not necessarily taking more chances, but pressing a little bit harder.
The Bruins will look to come back hard in their next game, and expect another strong showing from their goalie.
"Timmy was good again," said Shawn Thorton. "He always has been, he always is. Thats a given nowadays, I think. I think we expect him to be at his best, and he is."