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With a little help from his teammates, that was the Tim Thomas everyone was expecting

04.24.11 at 1:28 am ET
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Tim Thomas wasn’t just big Saturday night. He was – as they say in hockey – HUGE.

And his most monumental moment set up the game winner minutes later by Nathan Horton. If Thomas doesn’t stop Brian Gionta coming down the right wing and in on net for a clear shot with just over 13 minutes left in the double-overtime, the series has a totally different – and certainly desperate – feel for the Bruins.

“When it started I actually came out and was playing it as if [Travis] Moen would have a breakaway, because that’s what it looked like, a break, right off the start,” Thomas said of his stonewall job on Gionta. “And then I realized my D was going to get back and make it a two-on–one, and I was out pretty far so I had to make sure I started to get my backward momentum going so I could play both the shot and the pass. And I was just barely had enough speed to be able to make that push over on the pass. And I was just fortunate enough to get a leg out and cover that part of the net.”

Was the save on Gionta that helped the Bruins take a 3-2 series lead the biggest save of his career?

“No, I mean I don’t have a list like that,” Thomas said at first before reconsidering the question. “I do have a couple that stick out from the past and stuff and I’m sure I haven’t had much time to think about it. Yeah, probably because it ended up being such an important save. And I’ll have to watch it to get a better picture of exactly what happened because it was the second overtime and thing happen fast and I was just playing goalie.”

Thomas also had some help, like in the first period when Michael Ryder slid down to stop Tomas Plekanec as Thomas was out of the crease.

“That was awesome,” Thomas said. “And I was actually turned around, I got to watch it pretty good. That was a huge save and in this type of game that’s a game-breaker.”

Is Thomas capable of appreciating what an epic game it was?

“In a way, like when you’re competing it is,” he said. “The further it goes on, you just want to win so bad that, it was fun, but I wouldn’t have minded if we won in regulation or the first overtime, let’s put it that way.”

Thomas said nerves don’t bother him as much as fatigue and dehydration.

“Well not as much tonight,” Thomas said of the nervousness factor. “Maybe because it was the second one in a row so you get used to it. But it’s still, it’s overtime. Everything is one the line. And it’s hockey and sometimes you are going to get scored on when there is nothing you can do. And I was just trying to do as much as I could to make that not happen.

Thomas made no apologies for all the help he got from teammates like Ryder and Zdeno Chara, who kept Michael Cammalleri‘s shot out of the net in the first overtime.

“It was a team effort, Ryder made a save with an open net and Zdeno made a save with an open net. It’s everybody together,” Thomas said. “If a bounce went the other way, we’d be saying Carey [Price] stole the game right now, but that’s not necessarily completely the case. I just try to do my part.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Brian Gionta, Montreal Canadiens
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