Thomas' career day easily overlooked

Thomas' career day easily overlooked
January 12, 2011, 4:17 am
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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;