Tim Thomas returns to form following four straight losses
|03.22.11 at 10:49 pm ET|
Tim Thomas entered Tuesday night in the midst of his worst stretch of the season. He hadn’t won a game in nearly three weeks, going 0-2-2 in his last four starts. It marked the first time all season he had gone four games without a win and the first time all season he had given up three or more goals in four straight.Tuesday night, Thomas returned to form in the Bruins’ 4-1 win over the Devils. He stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced to earn his 30th win of the season.
“I think it was mutual for both, the team and Timmy,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of getting back in the win column. “I don’t think we have to worry about him. He’s been a good goaltender for us this year, so it certainly wasn’t a concern on our part more than our team play. And our team play was much better.”
Thomas was especially strong in the early going, as the Devils registered 12 of the game’s first 13 shots. New Jersey did manage to score during that span, but it came on a power-play one-timer by Ilya Kovalchuk that Thomas didn’t have much of a chance to stop.
“I thought we were a little fragile there with what’s been happening,” Julien said. “But we were able to resist and obviously Tim made some big saves early on just to keep us in there.”
Thomas said the key to turning around his recent lack of success was that his defensemen did a better job of allowing him to see the puck.
“They had a few shots, they had a few good chances,” Thomas said. “But they were also letting me see the puck a little bit more than we had in the last few games. … I think that’s definitely a right step forward. We need to build off it and make sure we continue on. And we need to do the same things that gave us success tonight.”
Defenseman Tomas Kaberle said getting out of Thomas’ way is something the team has been focusing on in practice.
“You want him to see the shot,” Kaberle said. “You don’t want to tip the puck or something. You just want to box out in front of the net and hopefully he’ll make the big saves. Especially on the outside, he’s going to make the save every time. We talked about it before the game and in between the periods. He’s been a key to success for us this season and hopefully we keep it that way.”
After the slow start, Boston was able to take control of the game and relieve Thomas of some of the pressure. Following the early 12-1 shot deficit, the Bruins outshot the Devils 29-19 the rest of the way. They also drew five straight penalties at one point and were able to net four unanswered goals.
“I think by the end of the first, or last half of the first period, we started to get our legs moving and that was the difference,” Thomas said. “I think that’s what led to them taking the penalties in the second period, because we were moving our feet and that leads to penalties, drawn penalties. We were able to continue that throughout the game.”
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