Tim Thomas: ‘Our guys … are still champions’
|04.26.12 at 1:28 am ET|
Just minutes after letting in the series-deciding goal three minutes into overtime, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said he couldn’t believe the team’s chances at a repeat had ended so suddenly.
“I’d have to say I’m probably in shock,” Thomas said after Joel Ward tapped in Mike Knuble‘s rebound at 2:57 of overtime. “I really believed that we were going to win tonight. I thought that, I really had a deep feeling that this wasn’t the end of the road for us tonight, that this wasn’t going to be the last game of the season. And so that’s my first reaction.”
The Capitals broke out on a 2-on-1 on the game-winning rush when Benoit Pouliot couldn’t dump in the puck deep on an attempted Bruins’ line change.
“Well obviously you see Knuble coming down with the puck and coming to the net hard,” Thomas said. “He had himself in a position, he’s a big strong guy where it looked like to me where he could cut across the net or he could go both ways. So I had to play him straight up, and he got, when he got in closer to me it got stuck on his backhand there, so I was just trying to play him honest and wait for him to take the shot. I didn’t want to go down until after he took the, released the puck because I didn’t want him to be able to go up and over my pad.
“And then he threw, they he put it at the net backhand and his momentum continued into me. I’m not, I’m not calling sour grapes, but it’s reality and it pushed me out of the way just enough to open up the net for Ward to put it in. I didn’t even see [Joel] Ward put it in. I knew the rebound was going that way but I had guys, well my head was probably in about his stomach, right. I don’t have a picture of it in my head even because I couldn’t, so, it’s, you just hear the crowd and you see them going crazy so you know something happened.”
For the first time in Stanley Cup playoff history, all seven games were decided by one goal.
“I think both teams battled very hard,” Thomas said. “They stuck to their game plan. They made it very difficult for us to generate any offense or any momentum with the style that they played. What it says about our guys is that they’re battlers and they’re, well they’re still champions. And they gave everything they had to the bitter end. Unfortunately this is sports and they fell short this time.
“Well, it’s obviously a very difficult thing. That’s why nobody’s done it in a long time. But having said that, I thought we had a better chance than most. I thought that if we could get past this first round hurdle that we would pick up some energy and momentum. I mean, I had the picture in my head of holding the Cup again this year. And I thought, I believed in that this team still had what it took to get it done, even with that short summer and everything else.”