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Tim Thomas: ‘Our guys … are still champions’ 04.26.12 at 1:28 am ET
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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.”

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Tim Thomas, Washington Capitals
Bruins-Capitals Game 7 preview: Seven stats, players to watch and keys to victory 04.25.12 at 12:08 am ET
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It’s all about seven as the Bruins host the Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Here’s everything you need to know and more, with seven the central theme.

SEVEN STATS

How much will Patrice Bergeron be able to contribute in Game 7? (AP)

• According to some impressive research done by Brian McNally of the Washington Examiner, Jay Beagle has an incredible 61.6 success rate in the faceoff circle (53-for-86). Even more impressive is that he’s won 13-of-21 faceoffs against Patrice Bergeron, who led the league in faceoff wins during the regular season.

Tim Thomas‘ 14 goals allowed through the first six games of the series equals the total he allowed in the first six games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last season against the Canadiens. He faced only 12 more shots against the Habs through six than he has entering Wednesday’s Game 7.

Alexander Ovechkin has two goals and two assists for four points and a minus-1 rating in four career Game 7s. He and the Capitals have gone 1-3 in those games.

This series, Ovechkin is tied with Rich Peverley with five points.

Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic each have four career points in Game 7s to lead the Bruins. Lucic has three goals and an assist in six Game 7s while Marchand had two goals and two assists in three Game 7s last postseason.

• This series is the only one in NHL history to have the first six games decided by one goal. Both teams have scored 14 goals apiece with no empty-netters.

Dennis Seidenberg has played in four Game 7s and won them all. He has four assists and plus-4 rating in those games, and has never had a negative rating in a Game 7.

• The Bruins have scored on the power play in just one of their six Game 7s since 2008. That game was Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers, a contest in which they scored two on the man advantage. Since 2008, the B’s are 2-for-13 on the power play in Game 7s.

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Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Alexander Ovechkin, Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas
A closer look at Bruins’ recent Game 7 history 04.24.12 at 9:14 pm ET
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Since the 2007-08 season, the Bruins have played six Game 7s, and until last season, they had lost all of them. In the 2011 playoffs, however, the Bruins won three Game 7s en route to winning the Stanley Cup. Two of those wins were by one goal, one of which was an overtime winner.

The Bruins won their last Game 7. (AP)

Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand lead the Bruins in scoring in those Game 7s with four points each. Lucic has scored three goals and recorded an assist in six Game 7s since 2008 while Marchand, in just three career Game 7s, has two goals and two assists. Both goals and one assist came in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals against Vancouver, which the Bruins won, 4-0. Nathan Horton has two Game 7 goals, both of which were game-winners. He leads the Bruins in game-winning Game 7 goals since 2008, but is not playing in the playoffs this year because of a concussion.

Tim Thomas played in five of the six Game 7s, and he owns a 3-2 record with a .935 save percentage in Game 7. Thomas engineered the Bruins to two of their three Game 7 wins last season, pitching a shutout in the Eastern Conference finals and the Stanley Cup finals.

Here’s a further breakdown of how the Bruins have fared in Game 7 since 2008:

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Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Tim Thomas
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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Tim Thomas (30) was on top of things when it mattered most for Bruins Sunday. (AP)

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
With the season on the line, Tim Thomas isn’t worried about one bad game 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
Tuukka Rask doesn’t swear, but he explains why the Tim Thomas White House snub won’t be an issue 04.16.12 at 2:16 pm ET
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WASHINGTON — Everyone in the world wants to forget about the Tim Thomas/White House fiasco, and maybe they finally can after Monday night.

Game 3 will be Thomas’ second game at Verizon Center since the reigning Conn Smythe winner skipped the team’s White House visit in January. Fans in D.C. are being encouraged to wear Barack Obama masks as a way of taunting Thomas.

The Bruins are sick of answering questions about Thomas and the White House. Thomas has promised the media that he will end his sessions with reporters if the White House or his politics are mentioned. Both times it has happened since, Thomas has made good on his word and walked out.

Yet Tuukka Rask was happy to explain why he doesn’t think Thomas will be impacted by a Verizon Center full of fans who are angry with the two-time Vezina winner.

“I think everybody’s angry at him because he’s so good,” Rask said. “You guys know him almost as well as I do. He doesn’t give a… shoot about that stuff. It doesn’t bother him at all.”

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Barack Obama, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask
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
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