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Claude Julien: Tim Thomas wouldn’t have won Stanley Cup without Bruins

Tim Thomas [1] won’t play Thursday against the Bruins as he rehabs a lower-body injury, but Claude Julien [2] kept the Thomas-Bruins story alive with a very honest take on Thomas’ legacy Thursday.

Responding to a question about the line of thinking that the Bruins wouldn’t have won the Stanley Cup [3] in 2011 without Thomas, Julien corrected the record by noting that it’s important people understand that Thomas had an easier job than most goalies.

“They’re right, but Tim Thomas [1] doesn’t win the Stanley Cup [3] if our team doesn’t play as well it did in front of him,” Julien said. “This is an honest statement. Tim played well, but I think our team played just as well in front of him. You don’t win the Stanley Cup just with a goaltender. He won the Conn Smythe because he was very good, but I would like to hope that the statistics of your goaltenders can also reflect the team in front of you.

“We did a pretty good job in front of him for years, minimizing the goal-scoring chances and the quality of them. Let’s make sure we don’t take credit away from the rest of the team, too. He was a big part of it, and so were a lot of other guys, but at the same time, we won the Stanley Cup because we were a good team. That’s what I like to think, anyways.”

Thomas had a 2.00 goals-against average in the 2010-11 regular season with a then-NHL-record .938 save-percentage. That performance earned him his second Vezina Trophy, while his 1.98 GAA and .940 save-percentage helped the B’s to a Stanley Cup victory in which he was the recipient of the Conn Smythe.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins [4].