The Top Ten Tim Thomas Moments
Now that you have gotten past that heavy amount alliteration in the title and are over the fact that Tim Thomas will likely never be a Bruin again; it is time to look back and appreciate what he did for the Bruins despite his disappointing exit. Love him or hate him, Tim Thomas carried the Bruins on his back to the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship. His performance, not only historic, but game changing as he and the Bruins defied constant odds and beat the NHL’s best team to bring the cup home back to Boston for the first time in 39 years. Here is a look at Tim Thomas’ greatest moments in his NHL career, a career while short, left an incredible impact on this organization and hockey in general.
10. The Return: After winning his first Vezina Trophy as leagues best goaltender, Thomas’ follow up season was less up to par. Suffering from a hip injury throughout the course of the season Timmy put up numbers that were a shell of the season prior. He posted a record of 17-18-8 with a save percentage of .915, a goals against average of 2.56, and 5 shutouts.
Entering the 2010/11 season, Thomas was regulated to back-up duty after Rask had taken the number one spot from him the year before. Thomas got his first start of the season in game 2 against the Phoenix Coyotes and promptly shut them out. He would go on to win his next six starts and shut out to of them. He reclaimed the number one spot from Rask and did something no other goaltender had done in Boston since Tiny Thompson in the 1920’s.
9. Save on Brian Gionta in Game 5: Tim Thomas’ double overtime save on Brian Gionta in game five of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs is, in my opinion, the save of the entire playoffs. Not only did it save the game for the Bruins and put them ahead in the series they were down 0-2. The Bruins would go on and win the game on a Nathan Horton goal shortly after this big save. The Bruins would eventually lose game six in Montreal and have to play a decisive game seven at home and while they ended up winning the game off of yet another Nathan Horton goal, it was Timmy’s save that changed everything.
If Thomas had failed to stop that puck, the Bruins would have had to play an elimination game in Montreal and as anyone will tell you; it is one of the hardest places to win a game. The Canadiens are always a strong match-up against the Bruins regardless of how one or the other is playing. For the Bruins to go through Montreal to win a Stanley Cup is a special thing, Thomas’ save set the stage for Horton’s heroics
8. Thomas Drops Andrei Kostitsyn: Tim Thomas’ willingness to throw his body is a very rare thing among netminders. Just ask Ryan Miller. In a 2009 game against the Montreal Canadiens, then Canadiens’ forward boarded then Bruins’ defenseman Aaron Ward. As Kostitsyn skated by Thomas, Timmy laid out the young forward in a moment that established his toughness in the goaltending position.
This hit isn’t very significant to Boston Bruins history, I just find it amusing how someone can be so rowdy in a position that calls for a calm center and focus. Thomas constantly defies the norm for being a goaltender in the NHL and this moment, as well as a few others, proves that sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. I will never forget Kostitsyn’s face after he got up from being laid out by the goaltender.
7. Pumping His Tires: Following game five of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, Vancouver Canucks’ goaltender Roberto Luongo criticized Tim Thomas for the goal he allowed which cost the Bruins the game. “That is an easy save for me” said Luongo “when you’re wandering out of the crease that stuff is going to happen”. In a later interview Luongo continued his drama with this beauty “I have pumping his tires this whole series, he hasn’t one good thing about me, so that is how it is”.
Thomas’ response was nothing short of incredible. When asked if he had heard what Luongo said, Timmy replied “I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires, I guess I will have to apologize for that”. This is also great because Luongo would eventually have to eat his words big time and he would have to face Thomas in the handshake line after being shutout in game seven on his home ice.
6. 4 All-Star Game Wins: As of last season, Tim Thomas is the only goaltender to win every single All-Star game he has been in attendance of. This is more of a tongue and cheek accomplishment to be sure, but it is also quite extraordinary. Thomas got the win in 2008’s All-Star game held in Atlanta, 2009’s All-Star game held in Montreal, 2011’s All-Star game held in Raleigh, and 2012’s All-Star game in Ottawa. The great thing about Timmy is he is always game for the jokes and festivities that go on at the event.
Being a four time all-star is nothing to scoff at. There are players in this league that make it every year even if they are having a down year. Thomas making it to four All-Star games at his age is an impressive feat. He always looked as if he truly appreciated being there while others looked as if they were taking it for granted. He was also there representing the Boston Bruins as a winning organization and what better way to do that than to win every All-Star game he was a part of?
5. First Vezina: The 2008/09 Boston Bruins were incredible. They were seemingly the perfect team as they tore through every single team that came in their way. I think most Bruins Fans expected something special given the way the team rose against the conference leading Montreal Canadiens and forced them to game seven before getting knocked out. The Bruins proved they were a team that could win at the highest level and with the help of Zdeno Chara’s Norris Trophy winning season, career years from then Bruin Phil Kessel, David Krejci, and newcomer then Bruin Blake Wheeler the team won the Eastern Conference with a 53-19-10 record.
While everyone on the Bruins was playing at their highest level, it was Tim Thomas that really shined as he put together one of his many historic seasons. He posted a record of 36-11-7 with a .933 save percentage, 2.10 goals against average, and 5 shutouts. This excellent season catapulted the Bruins into elite status and it earned Thomas the first of his two Vezina Trophy’s in his short NHL career.
4. 2011 NHL Playoffs: Tim Thomas’ 2011 playoff run was nothing short of legendary. He carried the Bruins on his back for essentially the entire run and he made believers out of everyone in that room. The Bruins playoff run was longer than any other in the history of the league. They have to play an unheard of three game sevens to win the Stanley Cup. Most teams would have washed given the massive physical toll your body takes throughout the tournament but the B’s hung in there.
The Credit for this incredible run has to rest on the shoulders of Thomas. He posted an incredible 16-9 record with 4 shutouts, a .940 save percentage, a 1.98 goals against average. Timmy also broke the record for most shots against in entire playoff run with 840. The interesting thing about that little record is every other goaltender in history who held that record ended up losing in the finals. Thomas also broke another Stanley Cup Finals record by only allowing 8 goals in a seven game series to win the cup. This performance endeared him to the hockey world and for this reason alone, his legacy should not be tarnished.
3. The Goaltending Trifecta: Not since Philadelphia Flyers’ great Bernie Parent did it in the early 70’s has a goaltender won the Vezina Trophy, a Stanley Cup, and a Conn Smythe award. Tim Thomas did so in 2011 when he helped lead the Bruins to their amazing cup run. His performance throughout the entire season was nothing short of remarkable. In the regular season he posted a record of 35-11-9 with a .938 save percentage, a 2.00 goals against, and 9 shutouts. In the playoffs he managed to elevate his game even further with a 16-9 record with 4 shutouts, a .940 save percentage, a 1.98 goals against average.
Thomas also broke Dominik Hasek’s save percentage record which was .937 which is further testament to the style of goaltending Thomas uses which is similar to that of Hasek. You can not say enough how historic this season was for the Bruins netminder as he was man possessed throughout the entire year. His legacy in Boston is this season which culminated in the first Stanley Cup victory in 39 years. The Goaltending Trifecta is one of the many incredible accomplishments by Thomas in his relatively short NHL career.
2. Game Seven Shutout: After all the taunting by the Vancouver Canucks and all the attempts in game to throw Thomas off of his game, game seven in Vancouver set the stage for Thomas’ crowning achievement. The series had been a hard fought one with more than enough drama to satisfy the media every where. As Canucks’ goaltender called out Thomas for not pumping any tires and proceeded to claim that the goal Timmy let in to lose game five was an “easy save for him”, Thomas had one thing in mind. Throughout the series it appeared that he would not be beaten, he had only allowed eight goals in six games leading up game seven.
The Canucks came a it with everything they had but Thomas would not be fazed as he turned them away every single time. When the final buzzer went off he had shutout them out and the Bruins had won the cup. He turned away 37 shots in that game and had beaten the leagues best offense and Presidents Trophy winners. Perhaps the most interesting moment was when he made one final save on a post whistle shot before Zdeno Chara grabbed him and hugged him, or maybe it was the meeting of Luongo in the handshake line where the defeated goaltender couldn’t even look him in the eyes. Whatever it is, Thomas’ gave shutout is one of the most incredible moments in Boston Sports history.
1. Stanley Cup: I’m sure number one comes as no surprise to you but honestly, what else would it be? I know he left town in a weird way and that it may be upsetting but Tim Thomas is a legend in Boston Sports and that is something that should never change. You can follow me on Twitter here: @mattjacob64