Saturday, April 9, 2011
Tim Thomas likely to set NHL record
By James Murphy
BOSTON -- Bruins goalie Tim Thomas continued his standout season Saturday with a 31-save performance in a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators in the Bruins' regular-season home finale at TD Garden. Thomas is now 35-11-9 with a 2.00 GAA and .9382 save percentage.
That last stat will now go down in the record books. Following the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien told the media that Thomas will not start at New Jersey on Sunday in the final game of the regular season, which means that unless he has to come in to relieve Tuukka Rask, Thomas will hold the NHL's single-season record for highest save percentage.
Thomas surpassed Dominik Hasek's record save percentage of .9366 from the 1998-99 season and now has the best single-season save percentage since the league started keeping the stat in 1982-83. Thomas has stopped 1,699 of 1,811 shots this season.
Following the game Thomas was happy with the record but more concerned about helping his team.
"That's what it went up to? OK, because was it .9376 before?" Thomas asked with a smile. "Yeah, well, that's great. That's awesome. But there's one more game. We have to, as a team, we have to focus on taking care of business tomorrow, and I'm part of that. And so I'll really, I'll reflect on it really once the season's over a little bit more than I am right now."
However, Thomas did admit that he has always been a fan of Hasek and said it was pretty cool to break a record held by his "hero." Many people compare the two goalies' unconventional styles, and Thomas sees the similarities as well.
"I certainly watched him when I was in college and was trying to pick things up off of him," Thomas said. "I didn't try to emulate my style after him. I still have my own style. But I didn't see some of the things that he does that I thought I could apply to my game, and probably over the years it became part of my game, too. ... I'll be honest -- Dominik Hasek was a hero of mine back when I was in college. A guy who played unconventional and had a ton of success.
"And even at college age, I was already labeled as somebody with my style that I couldn't do it at the next level. And so he was an inspiration. And just actually still seeing him, knowing that he's playing, he won the Czech League not this year but the season before ... I'm still impressed with what he's been able to accomplish."
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.