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Lightning coach Guy Boucher: Tim Thomas is in ‘everybody’s head’

05.13.11 at 8:49 pm ET
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Tim Thomas dominated the Tampa Bay Lightning during the regular season much in the same way he dominated the rest of the NHL. So, maybe nobody should’ve been shocked when their head coach admitted Friday that the Bruins goalie is in their heads.

Thomas was a perfect 3-0-0 this season against the Lightning, with 1.67 goal against, allowing just five goals in the three games.

“Well, I’m sure we’re no different than any other team or any other coaches,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said Friday. “We do study the other goaltender. I’m sure they studied ours. There’s tendencies and things you want to focus on.

“But I think the players play the game, everything is done in fractions of seconds. It’s quite difficult to all of a sudden change their ways. We do want to focus on a few things. But the reality is, whatever we plan against Tim Thomas, he’s probably going to find a way to counter that. I think you want to watch out and not focus too much on the other team’s goaltender.”

Still, the numbers are the numbers and Boucher knows his players will have quite the Kilimanjaro-esque challenge here in the Eastern finals.

“Yes, we’re aware of the mountain we have to climb when we play him,” Boucher said. “All the other teams have had the same thing all year long and it’s been the same thing in the playoffs. It’s in everybody’s head. Let’s not kid ourselves. He’ll be real tough to beat.”

“We know he’s good,” said Vincent Lecavalier. “I mean, we’re just going to do like we did the first two series. It all comes down to shooting the puck at him and getting the rebounds. Especially him, he’s going to make that first save. He’s a great goaltender. So we’ll definitely try to get those rebounds. I think that’s what their team is going to try to do to Rolly. He’s unorthodox, but he definitely got it done this year. He’s been playing very well.”

Steve Stamkos had a goal and an assist against Thomas in a Dec. 28 loss in St. Pete. That game was three days before the Lightning acquired goalie Dwayne Roloson from the Islanders, changing their second-half fortunes and giving them a goalie who’s been through Stanley Cup pressure before.

“I think we just can’t overthink out there on the ice,” he said. “We know he’s a good goalie. He’s really aggressive. He’s played really well for them. He’s going to make some pretty good saves. We can’t let that get to us, get down and think that we aren’t going to beat them.

“You look at both the goalies in this series, they played unbelievable, but they haven’t stopped every single puck. We know we got to get lots of pucks to the net, like Vinny said, just don’t give up.”

Added Martin St. Louis, a former Vermont Catamount teammate of Thomas, “We’ve watched enough playoff hockey, been part of playoff hockey, a lot of goals happen because pucks are thrown at net with people there. We just have to battle. We know he’s a battler and we’re going to have to battle him.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Martin St. Louis, NHL
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