- James Murphy, Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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MONTREAL -- Don’t look now, but Tim Thomas appears to be in that zone he was in for the majority of last season when he won the Vezina Trophy going 35-11-9 with a 2.00 GAA and .938 save percentage and then following that up with a Conn Smythe performance of 16-9 with a 1.98 GAA and .940 save percentage to lead the Bruins to the Stanley Cup.
For the second straight game, Thomas earned a shutout with a 32-save performance, as the Bruins beat the Canadiens 1-0 at the Bell Centre on Monday night for their nine straight win -- and one that propelled them into first place in the Northeast Division for the first time this season. Thomas has not allowed a goal in 1:33:04 of play and now has three shutouts this season. He is 9-4-0 with a 1.77 GAA and .938 save percentage.
Following his latest masterpiece, Thomas acknowledged that he is back in the zone.
“I felt good at other parts and I’ve felt good all season long but I have felt good the last couple of days,” Thomas said. “I don’t know why. I’m just seeing the play well and reading what the other team's options are. Sometimes as a goalie, you get stuck in a puck focus so when a guy makes a pass, you’re caught on your heels to get to the pass. But right now I’ve just got a good feeling that I’m in position for the shot and I can take the shot but also my feet aren’t locked in so I can move.”
Thomas knows the Canadiens well, and on Monday night he was doing his best to prevent them from fooling him with their fluent puck movement.
“You gotta be on your toes and I was just trying to be ready for everything because they’re a tricky team,” Thomas said. “They usually set it up where they have a couple of different options, whether it’s shooting or passing. So I was just trying to visualize what their options are before they happen so I could be there when they made the pass.”
Mission accomplished, and for his teammates another enjoyable mission, as they have become accustomed to Thomas’ style and know exactly when he is locked in.
“Most of us have played quite a few years with him now and you get into that rhythm where you know exactly the shots that he likes,” Ference said. “What shots to get your stick out of the way for and what kind of playing the puck and what kind of rebounds to expect. So when it’s smooth, it gets really smooth, and with a great goalie that has the kind of save percentage he has, and the kind of confidence in his game, it’s a treat. You don’t even think about it because it just works on its own.”