Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NHL Playoffs 2011 [Print without images]

Sunday, June 5, 2011
Bruins back Tim Thomas after OT loss

By Brendan Hall
ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was asked Sunday afternoon at TD Garden about his aggressive, sometimes pugilistic style of goaltending, his tendency to leave the net in certain situations, and if there's any room for him to make adjustments.

And like one of those theatrical pad saves of his, the Bruins goaltender kicked it aside.

"I have a pretty good idea of how to play goalie," Thomas said, cracking a smile. "I'm not going to be taking suggestions or advice at this time. I'm just going to keep playing the way I have."

Sunday afternoon, upon their return flight from Vancouver, the Bruins fielded questions from all sorts of angles about Saturday night's gaffe, in which Vancouver's Alex Burrows netted a wrap-around for the game-winner 11 seconds into overtime. Burrows scooped the puck off the boards following an Andrew Ference turnover in the neutral zone, and the veteran Bruins goalie nearly came out to the right hash marks to try and stuff Burrows, only to watch from his stomach as Burrows beat a trailing Zdeno Chara around the back of the net and snuck the puck inside the opposite post.

But the message Sunday was clear: This one's not all on Thomas, and they're tired of having to defend him.

"I think all year long we've played in front of Timmy Thomas. To me he's a Vezina Trophy winner," head coach Claude Julien said. "We are here right now because of his contribution, which has been really good. For us to be sitting here having to answer those kind of questions is ridiculous to me.

"He's won a Vezina Trophy already, as I mentioned. He's probably going to win one this year, in my mind anyway, for what he's done. So to question his way of playing is really looking for something to talk about. Yesterday he made some unbelievable saves to keep us in the game. So if we want to focus on that last goal, which I think a lot of other players could have done a better job, I think it's focusing on the wrong thing."

As for the other parties, it's time to pick up the pieces. Again.

The team will be staying in a hotel Sunday night, and there's no doubt that the Bruins will have to shore things up on the defensive end. Two Ference turnovers produced two goals, including Burrows' overtime game-winner, while Chara took some heat on the airwaves Sunday for perceivably giving up on the play that produced Burrows' winner.

At the other end, the Bruins remain confident in the looks they're getting in front of Roberto Luongo, and can build on some of the work produced in Game 2.

"We had some scoring chances," Chara said. "We had some momentum (swings), but I can't really answer why (they're down in the series). It just happened.

"Obviously, it'd be a different game if we scored on the chances we had, and all of a sudden they'd be behind. But it's one of those things that's just hard to really explain."

Asked if he will change his approach to the Canucks' top line of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Burrows, which combined for five points in Saturday's game, Chara was his usual poker-faced self.

"I don't think so. I think we have to always take care of that, and play hard," he said. "I don't think it's just that."

Brendan Hall covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.