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Thomas, Bruins Put Down Panthers

Boston's goalie leads the league in GAA and Save %

Saturday, 11.22.2008 / 10:56 AM / Features
By Angela Stefano  - BostonBruins.com
Tim Thomas
Boston, MA - When Florida Panther David Booth took a rebound off the boards and tossed it behind Tim Thomas to put his team on the board, the Black & Gold's goaltender was, possibly, the only person on the ice who knew it was a goal.

“I told (Dennis) Wideman about three seconds afterwards that it was in the crease,” said Thomas after the game.  The puck ricocheted off the left post, into the net and bounced out. 

“Not only was it a pretty hard shot; he shot it mid-stride,” said Thomas.  “He must have turned the puck exactly sideways to get it bouncing off the post like that.  It means the puck was level.”

Play continued for about 20 seconds before a whistle was blown and the shot went under video review, only to determine the goal was, in fact, a goal.

Thomas, meanwhile, was trying to keep his cool.

“I was trying to think of the rules, that if they scored again, would it count for two,” he said, “so I was just trying to make sure they didn’t score another.”

He did hang on, and stopped the pucks that flew his way before that next whistle, and all but two of 32 total, to give the Bruins a 4-2 win.

“They’re not an easy team,” said Thomas of the Panthers.  “They haven’t had the greatest record this year, but we’ve always had trouble with them in the past.”

The Panthers, although currently last in the Eastern Conference, had won seven of the last eight games in the TD Banknorth Garden between the two teams. The team’s speed and ability to take advantage of misplays, which Bruins head coach Claude Julien had noted earlier, were a factor in those wins – and could have been tonight.

“They kept a guy almost behind our defensemen,” said Thomas, who was often plagued by a red-and-white-clad player firmly planted in front of the Boston net.  “They had a couple of dangerous chances where they got out alone. They’re very fast.”

Fortunately, the only major breakdown came with just 3:06 remaining in the game.  Ville Peltonen gave the Panthers a second tally in garbage time, but overall Thomas thought the Bruins started and finished the game strong.

“After the second period, we were really talking…about how we’ve got to bear down, we’ve got to finish up this game strong,” he said.  “Maybe the tendency is to let up, but we were trying our best to avoid that.”

And with tonight’s game, Thomas improved his numbers and kept the top goalie spot in the league, as he’s now sporting a league-leading goals against average of 1.80 and a NHL-best save percentage of .944. It also helped distance him from the second place goaltender, none other than Florida’s Craig Anderson, who played back-up to Thomas Vokoun tonight.

Thomas, however, knows that he can’t rest on his laurels.

“The easiest thing to forget is the work that’s put into getting that success,” he said. “As a team, we’re really focusing on remembering that and keeping it all in perspective and not getting too far ahead of ourselves.”

Recently, the B’s have done well, but Thomas knows there’s more work to be done.

“We can take a few less penalties,” he said.  “If we can keep it simple like we did for a time period in the second period [tonight], and we dominated, we can do that the whole game if we keep holding on.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
3 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
4 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
5 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
6 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
7 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
8 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Krejci 80 19 50 39 69
P. Bergeron 80 30 32 38 62
J. Iginla 78 30 31 34 61
M. Lucic 80 24 35 30 59
B. Marchand 82 25 28 36 53
R. Smith 82 20 31 28 51
C. Soderberg 73 16 32 4 48
Z. Chara 77 17 23 25 40
T. Krug 79 14 26 18 40
L. Eriksson 61 10 27 14 37
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 36 15 6 .930 2.04
C. Johnson 17 4 3 .925 2.10
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