Thomas' career day easily overlooked


Thomas' career day easily overlooked

By Danny Picard

BOSTON -- Maybe you couldn't see, with all the hats. Or maybe people in the row in front of you blocked your vision while participating in "the wave."

But somewhere out on the TD Garden ice on Tuesday night, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas completed what some would call a perfect day.

Patrice Bergeron's hat trick stole the show in Tuesday's 6-0 win over the Ottawa Senators. It caused the Garden to lose control, and give the building a Fenway-esque feel while pulling out the wave.

But Thomas' 31 saves gave him his sixth shutout of the season, a new personal single-season career high. He now leads the entire NHL in shutouts, and also leads the league in goals-against average (1.77) and save percentage (.946).

His 19th win of the season came on the same day as being named to his third career All-Star Game. Thomas joins captain Zdeno Chara as the other Bruins player voted into the game.

"It's always an honor," said Thomas. "It's a feather in your cap, so I'm very happy.

"Everybody wants down time, but having said that, for most people, myself included, you don't make the All-Star Game that often. It's an honor worth giving up a couple of days rest for."

And as the Bruins' No. 1 goaltender this season, rest is something Thomas hasn't exactly seen much of, up until last week.

And after not looking too good in the final minutes of Saturday night's third-period collapse in Montreal, Thomas benefited from an early 2-0 Bruins lead, and a 5-0 lead heading into the third period.

"It's rare, with how tight this league is, to get a nice big lead like that, so it was very nice," said Thomas. "It kind of feels like a night off, mentally."

"Tim was good," said coach Claude Julien after the win. "He made some big saves, and I think our players played well in front of him. But he still made some really good saves. He was solid, and he certainly gave us the confidence that we needed. We knew he was going to be there to make those kind of saves.

"Probably nice for him, and our goaltenders, to once in a while to see our team have a bit of a cushion, so that they can just relax and not feel like every shot is a must."

With the mental night off, Thomas didn't even realize that he had set a new single-season career high in shutouts, saying, "Tells ya that I'm doing a good job not thinking about all that stuff."

And not thinking is working for Thomas, who's having one of the best seasons of his career, a season after losing his starting job to the young Tuukka Rask. But following hip surgery, the rejuvenated Thomas is now quietly playing himself into another Vezina Trophy season, which would mark his second in three years.

On Tuesday, he got the win, the shutout, and his third All Star nod.

A perfect day that could have been easily overlooked.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1;

Thursday, Dec. 8: Five most confusing NHL players

Thursday, Dec. 8: Five most confusing NHL players

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the proud ownership of this year’s Christmas tree in the Haggerty household some fifty bucks later. 

*Down Goes Brown provides a list of the five most confusing players in the NHL this season, and none of them are Boston Bruins. Hooray. 

*Bruce Boudreau makes the case to the Hockey News that Devan Dubnyk is more deserving of a Vezina Trophy this season than Carey Price. How about Tuukka Rask being more deserving than either one of them?

*An interesting look at the rough state of Maple Leafs goaltending right around the Tuukka Rask trade to Boston and the Vesa Toskala/Andrew Raycroft years. 

*A fun video piece with FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Freidman and Wild coach Bruce Boudreau as they took a tour of Toronto together.

*Speaking of trades, the Philadelphia Flyers hit the jackpot with the Wayne Simmonds trade as he’s been a proud part of the Broad Street Bullies tradition. 

*Gord Miller is an excellent play-by-play man, and he tells some great stories of his life on the road whether it’s the NHL season or the World Junior tournament. 

*While the Boston University hockey team is a star-studded group with an amazing freshman recruiting class, Patrick Curry has been a player that’s quietly had an excellent season. 

*A few minutes with Pittsburgh Penguins D-man Kris Letang about a wide array of subjects including Mike Sullivan and concussion spotters.

*For something completely different: good interview with the former Flash, John Wesley Shipp, about his role in the newer Flash TV series, and the coolness of bringing back Shipp and Mark Hamill as their former characters.