VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Boston coach Claude Julien didn’t waste any time picking his starting goaltender against Vancouver.
After watching Tim Thomas backstop the Bruins to a 1-0 win against Edmonton on Monday night, Julien ended his back-and-forth goalie rotation. He passed over Manny Fernandez and gave Thomas a second straight start. The decision paid immediate dividends.
Michael Ryder scored his second goal of the season midway through the first period and Thomas made the best of his 31 saves in the frame en route to a second 1-0 win in two nights, leading the Bruins over the Canucks.
“As soon as the game was over Monday, I knew who I was going with,” Julien said after Boston’s third straight win. “Not only did he get a shutout, but he played well. When I say something I keep my word, and my word is, if somebody is going to get hot, he’s going to get the chance to take the ball and run with it.”
“The composure we kept in the third was awesome,” said Thomas, who also blanked the Canucks in their only other meeting, a 39-save, 2-0 win on Dec. 21, 2006. “Hopefully it gives us confidence that in tight games we can come out with the win, whether it s 4-3 or 1-0.”
At first I thought AP got it wrong. Thomas, who’s 34 years old, had to played against Vancouver more than once. A check of his NHL profile showed me he has only been a full-time NHL goaltender since the 2005-06 season. Until a recent rule change, Eastern and Western conference teams only played the other two out of every three years.
Back to back 1-0 shutouts by the same goalie happened in the 2007-08 season. Florida’s Craig Anderson pulling off the feat.
If I was Julien, I’d continue to play Thomas till one of three things occur-
1 The hot streak ends
2 Boston plays games on back to back nights and one of the games is played on the road
3 The next Bruin game against Florida. Thomas has been awful against the Panthers in the past.
On second thought, let Thomas face my favorite hockey team.
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