In a series that has been as difficult to predict as the impending apocalypse, the Bruins earned a huge victory Monday night in Boston. The win gave the B’s a commanding 3-2 series lead and they’ll look to finish off the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
Speaking of the potential rapture, Tim Thomas played the role of the Bruins’ savior in net. Thankful that the world did not recently come to end, he took advantage of the opportunity to play in the game and gave a performance that was one for the ages.
After giving up a goal 1:09 into the game, he proceeded to dazzle the crowd with incredible save after save, racking up 33 for the game. His tremendous goalkeeping made it impossible for Tampa Bay to maintain any sort of offensive flow and instilled confidence among his teammates giving them the opportunity to overcome the early goal to come from behind and notch this crucial victory.
The Bruins honestly had no business being in this game early on. The disparity in shots in the first period just further attests to Thomas’ brilliant performance. The Bruins only managed to get off four shots over the first twenty minutes, while the Tampa shots rained down on the Boston net minder in a monsoon-like fashion to the tune of fourteen shots.
Fortunate that the lead only stood at one goal after the first session, the second period is when the tide really started to turn in the Bruins’ favor. They made a determined effort to establish themselves physically on both ends of the ice delivering a number of vicious blows to help set the tone for the turnaround.
Horton’s goal served as a huge momentum changer 4:24 into the second period. It was a gorgeous goal orchestrated off of a face-off win in the offensive zone by Krejci. A beautiful pass by Milan Lucic set up the ferocious blast that the opposing goalie’s first glimpse of the puck was when he was fishing it out of the back of his own net.
Despite the score being 1-1 after the goal, the Lightning should have just boarded the plane back to Tampa after that, because the Bruins are 6-0 this postseason when Horton scores a goal. Just to make it official though, with just over four minutes remaining in the second period Brad Marchand banged home a pin-point pass from Patrice Burgeron to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish. Rich Peverley put the icing on the cake for the Bruins when he scored an empty netter with just 12 seconds left.
For the game, the B’s were out shot 34-19. And although it hasn’t exactly been a completely stellar series for Thomas, in the two of the most critical contests he has been at his absolute best. The Bruins were out shot in every single period, even in the second period where Boston really swung the momentum to the way of the black and gold. But Thomas’ effort proved he was more than up to the task.
It was an immensely entertaining game that further contributed to the exciting nature of this series. Wednesday night should not be any different as Bruin fans will look forward to a potential Stanley Cup Finals berth. It would be their first appearance in the NHL championship since 1990. Tampa will certainly be a tough out as they are 3-0 in elimination games in the playoffs so far. But given Tim Thomas’ pedigree and latest performance, Boston has to feel good about their chances with him in net.