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Tim Thomas stands on his head then tips cap to ‘coming of age’ goal by Tyler Seguin 04.22.12 at 8:13 pm ET
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There’s no one on the Bruins who has handled pressure over the last two years any better than Tim Thomas.

He did it again on Sunday and thanks to that – and an overtime goal from Tyler Seguin – the Bruins will play a Game 7 against the Capitals on Wednesday in Boston.

“Basically, believe that we can do it, that we’re going to come out on top. It only takes one shot and we’re heading back home for Game 7 to sum it up,” Thomas said after registering 36 saves in the 4-3 OT thriller at Verizon Center.

Thomas defines clutch in Boston sports right now. He is 9-2 in elimination games with a 2.01 goals against average. His last loss to end a season came in the double-overtime crusher of 2009 against the Hurricanes in the Eastern semifinals.

His latest clutch moment came in a 60-second span when he denied Marcus Johansson with his paddle, a la his classic save on Steve Downie in Game 7 of the Eastern finals against the Lightning last year, and then, less than a minute later, Thomas stoned Jay Beagle point blank.

“I pride myself on doing the best I can every night, and doing the best I can to help the team,” Thomas said Sunday. “Our backs are up against the wall so I was trying to help them out. Hopefully, I did, but they stepped up and helped themselves out, too. The whole team did.”

“You’ve got obviously Tyler Seguin, a coming-of-age goal there, an overtime goal. [David Krejci] getting his first goal of the series. [Milan Lucic], it may not have shown up on the scoreboard, but the fact he had that extra gear helped us out. [Rich Peverley] again. All of us were there today and that’s what it took to come out of here with a win, and even having said that, it was hard.”

As for overtime, Thomas needed only to turn away one shot, a 53-foot shot from Beagle just 2:23 into the extra period.

“I’m not really feeling pressure like that,” Thomas said. “Yeah, it crosses my mind but I do my best to block it out as soon as possible and get into that mindset that you get into while you play the game, which is very little talk in your head. So, having said that, in the quiet times you realize that one shot, and our season is over. By the time the puck’s dropped, you better make sure you get that out of your head and you’re ready to make the save. More than hoping not to get scored on, I think you have to be ready to make the save.”

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Marcus Johansson, Tim Thomas
Claude Julien: ‘Maybe in trouble, but we’re not dead’ 04.22.12 at 10:50 am ET
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The Bruins know the refrain by now.

The series isn’t over till you win four games.

They repeated it over and over last year on their way to a sixth Stanley Cup title. And Claude Julien repeated it Saturday after a 4-3 gut-puncher at the hands of the Capitals at the Garden.

“Well there’€™s certainly lots of guys in that dressing room that have gone through that and there’€™s some others that are new to our hockey club that have to manage that as good as they can,” Julien said. “A guy like [Brian Rolston], he’€™s got some experience so our guys that we’€™ve gotten are experienced guys so I don’€™t see that as an issue. We’€™re down 3-2 in the series and most people will tell you, until they win four games, that’€™s when the series is over. So we’€™ve got an opportunity to get back into this series and create a Game 7 and that’€™s what we’€™re going to try to do.”

There were positives from Saturday that the B’s will try to carry over to today in Washington, like Milan Lucic getting in front of the net time and time again in the third period. Lucic’s “jam” in the slot created a point-blank chance for Tyler Seguin with 10 minutes left. Only a superhuman effort by Braden Holtby kept the Bruins from a late lead in their own building.

“There are some good things ‘€“ I don’€™t think now’€™s the time to start collaborating all those things with players,” Julien said. “Sometimes you’€™ve got to feel that sting a little bit in order to get yourself ready the next day and we’€™ll address that tomorrow certainly before the game. Still a lot of good things that we did tonight and you look at some of the missed opportunities ‘€“ Seguin is one, he had grease tonight and those opportunities were there for him, so that’€™s a positive. You wish he would have put some of those in and it’€™s a different outcome. But building on the positives, and as I said, we’€™re maybe in trouble but we’€™re not dead and we’€™re certainly going to make tomorrow a game that’€™s going to create a Game 7 for us.”

Johnny Boychuk finally blew a cannon past Holtby to tie the game on the power play to tie the game, 3-3. He sees a lot of hope.

“I thought we came out really well,” he said. “Again, [Holtby] played extremely well ‘€“ he made that one stop and stretched out and got it with his toe. We did play well, but it wasn’€™t good enough. They scored more goals than us and that’€™s the end of the day. We lost the game and [today], we have to win.”

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Braden Holtby, Claude Julien
With the season on the line, Tim Thomas isn’t worried about one bad game 04.22.12 at 9:29 am ET
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If there were ever a time to put a sub-par game in the past, today is the day for Tim Thomas.

It’s Game 6 in Washington, D.C. and Thomas is focused on keeping his Bruins in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

As for Saturday’s Game 5, sure there are a couple of shots he’d like to have back but has he said afterward, you can’t turn back the clock and get another chance to make a save.

Asked if he could’ve done a better job handling the rebound that led to Mike Knuble‘s goal to make it 3-2 or Troy Brouwer‘s game-winner on the power play, Thomas was philosophical. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Mike Knuble, Tim Thomas
Patrice Bergeron, Joe Corvo hurt in Game 5 loss 04.22.12 at 12:38 am ET
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The Bruins head into a do-or-die Game 6 in Washington Sunday and they do not know if they will have their top-line center with them and available.

Patrice Bergeron took a hit from Alexander Ovechkin and played just three shifts in the third period as the Bruins fell to the Capitals, 4-3.

“I’€™m not sure,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Bergeron’s status. “To be honest, I get into a game then I’€™m told that a guy is a little injured at that point and that’€™s all I know. I’€™m not quite sure whether it was that hit or whether it’€™s a hit that he had earlier that he kind of hit the glass, and that’€™s where I think it started, in my mind. So, I’€™m not 100 percent sure on that.”

Injury stoppage has infuriated Bruins coach Julien in the series. That continued in Saturday when Joe Corvo went down in the second period after blocking a shot from Marcus Johansson in the right leg. He stayed down momentarily before trying to get up. The officials didn’t blow the whistle and Alexander Semin scored the game’s first goal.

“Well that was probably the frustrating part for me,” Julien said. “We were in Washington last game and twice their players go down in their own end and we had full control of the puck and the whistle was blown right away with no hesitation and tonight we’€™re deciding we’€™re not. So, I guess I was a little perturbed ‘€“ is there two sets of rules or one? And I know they’€™re different referees but it’€™s still the same series so that was frustrating because they ended up scoring a goal on that. Again, that was my frustration on that goal and it’€™s unfortunate that’€™s how it ended up. Those other two guys are being looked at as we speak right now so there’€™s no update on them.”

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Joe Corvo, Patrice Bergeron,
Claude Julien has a message for his team: Stop being ‘cute’ with the puck 04.15.12 at 9:04 am ET
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There’s a four-letter word in hockey – especially during the playoffs.

C-U-T-E

It’s what players hate to be called and it’s what coaches hate to see from their players.

Saturday, Claude Julien saw a bit too much of it from his Bruins in a 2-1 double-overtime loss to the Capitals in Game 2 of their Eastern quarterfinal series.

“They play a patient game,” Julien said. “They sit back, and they get into their 1-4, and if you want to get cute in the neutral zone, then you’€™re not getting pucks in, but it took us two periods to get ourselves going and get some more opportunities, and instead of using our outside speed and everything else, we just kind of made it easy on them. And, you know, at this stage of the year, you would like to see more net-front traffic, and you would like to see that puck going to the net a little bit more with guys heading in that direction, and we don’€™t have a good enough commitment in that area right now to win hockey games.”

Julien has seen the commitment from the Chris Kelly line, with Benoit Pouliot and Brian Rolston again combining for the only Bruins goal – as was the case in Thursday’s 1-0 OT win. Now, Julien wants to see Patrice Bergeron‘s line of Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin do the same. Same goes for David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien,
What Tim Thomas did – and didn’t – see on the Capitals’ game-winner 04.14.12 at 9:29 pm ET
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There’s an old hockey adage that was proven very true Saturday as the Capitals tied the Bruins at a game apiece in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series – you can’t stop what you can’t see.

When Marcus Johansson outworked Johnny Boychuk for the loose puck in the defensive cornerboards, the Swede fed his native countryman Nicklas Backstrom to nearly the exact same spot Chris Kelly won Game 1.

Only difference this time was that there was a lot more traffic in front of the goalie. And in this case, Tim Thomas practically had no chance, unless he was lucky enough to have the puck hit him. No such luck.

“I just had time to yell ‘€˜screen’€™ and then I think I picked it up about halfway to me, but it was one of those knuckle [shots],” Thomas said. “You can’€™t get a read on exactly where it’€™s going. It is what it was.”

Asked if the shot dipped on him or just fluttered, Thomas again couldn’t describe what he couldn’t see.

“I didn’€™t see it enough to tell you,” Thomas added.

It was a bizarre kind of game for Thomas, who thought he was going to smother a puck that fluttered in on him in the second period. But out of nowhere Greg Zanon collided with him as he was trying to cover and Troy Brouwer was on the spot to find it, and flip a backhander between his legs while he was on the ground trying to get on it. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Greg Zanon, Tim Thomas
When it mattered most, Tim Thomas turned back the clock to 2011 04.13.12 at 8:25 am ET
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For two periods, rookie goalie Braden Holtby stole the show.

Then Tim Thomas reminded him, the Capitals and everyone else that he is still one of the best clutch goalies in the game.

For two periods, Tim Thomas saw a grand total of seven shots. The second period was especially dull. He didn’t face a shot on net for the first 10 minutes of the period as the Bruins outshot the Caps, 17-2, for the stanza.

But then the Capitals came out for the third. They were a different group, intent on showing they can actually get a shot on net.

“More often than not, when your team outshoots the other team heavily for a couple of periods, whether you score or not, there’€™s usually a time period in the game where the tables turn, and I knew they were going to get their bursts sooner or later. So I was mentally prepared for that going into the third period.”

Just four minutes in, Thomas had to be ready as the Capitals were on a power play and Alex Ovechkin was in the low left circle when he skated in and fired a wrister on Thomas.

“It was a toe save,” Thomas said of his left foot save. “I know he likes that spot, generally, over there, but he’€™s been changing it up and going to different spots. I didn’€™t even think about Ovechkin until the pass happened. I was focusing on who made the pass, the left-handed guy who made the pass. I was trying to get to my angle to make sure that he couldn’€™t score. But when I did see the pass released in that direction, I very quickly realized where it was going and who it was going to, so I’€™d better get over there very fast, and fortunately it hit my toe.”

“When a goaltender doesn’€™t get a ton of shots, it becomes a challenge for him to mentally stay in the game, and even physically,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “You know, you don’€™t want to stiffen up; you want to stay warmed up, and sometimes goaltenders thrive on the more shots they get, the more they’€™re into the game. So I thought Tim did a great job of staying focused and staying sharp, and when he had to make those big saves, he made them, and that was nice to see, and that’€™s Tim. With the experience he’€™s had over the course of his career now, those things are starting to really show, and I thought he did a great job. It wasn’€™t an easy task for him tonight, and the shutout, although he had 17 shots, was well deserved because he stayed focused through the whole game.”

Then came his biggest save. Naturally, it came in overtime where any little mistake means game over. Just about a minute in, Marcus Johansson came down the left wing with only defenseman Greg Zanon in position to defend. Zanon did his job, giving Thomas a chance to see Johansson and make the game-saving stop. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Chris Kelly, Tim Thomas
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