Where would the Bruins be without Tim Thomas? He's not a nominee for the Hart Trophy (MVP). There's that whole "goalies have their own trophy" stigma. Yet without him, the Bruins aren't up 3-2 over Tampa Bay. They don't sweep Philly. And they don't even get past Montreal. They might sneak into the playoffs somehow, but only if they're lucky. He's carried the Bruins on his 37 year old back.
His save on Downie was...
No words to describe it... poetry. They should have sent a poet.
Actually, I'll describe it a bit. His balance is unreal. Wherever he throws his body, his center of balance remains constant. This allows him to flail his stick out, and not only stop the puck, but to have enough leverage to slap it away. If you want to design a 4x4 vehicle, design a chassis based on Tim Thomas.
The Bruins didn't win a beauty pageant last night. They won a playoff hockey game. It was ugly. The B's didn't make many plays. But they didn't screw up. Krejci once again got caught messing around near the blue-line, but it was a forced turnover that resulted in Tampa's goal-scoring breakaway, not an unforced giveaway.
Much later, two perfect passes from Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron found Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand. The goals looked so pretty. Which was ironic considering how much the Bruins had been struggling to make even the simplest of plays.
Seeing Marchand score reminded me of how important Patrice Bergeron has been this postseason. When he went down, we all knew that the Penalty Kill would suffer, that the best defensive forward was out, but I was also worried about Marchand. They just click together. Bergeron's play allows Marchand to play like himself. Marchand never has to help out Bergeron or Recchi. He can just focus on playing his game.
The Power Play is still like watching a pee-wee game. Though, I'm glad they're trying new stuff, like playing Chara down low. I remember the Flyers putting Chris Pronger in the crease in a 5-on-3 situation last series, and if the B's didn't have Chara to defend against him, the Flyers probably would have produced. The Lightning, however, don't have anyone who can withstand Zdeno Chara. So keep him down low, or maybe even roaming from half-wall to half-wall as the 3rd forward.
But so long as the Penalty Kill continues to excel (now 16 of 18 in the series), the special teams battle remains in the Bruins' favor. The B's don't need PP goals. The Lightning thrive on them. The Bruins killed 4 penalties, and although that wasn't what won the game for the Bruins, it's what DIDN'T win the game for the Lightning.
The Bruins Power Play might be frustrating, but the B's can win without it. The Lightning are incapable of winning without theirs.
Game 6, Wednesday night in Florida. I have goosebumps.