The Boston Bruins are one of the greatest and most storied franchises in the history of the NHL. They’ve won six Stanley Cup trophies, giving them the fourth most of all time. The last time the Bruins took home the cup was in 2011. Tim Thomas was the goalie for that team. Was his career in Boston enough to have his number retired? Let’s discuss.
Where it started
Tim Thomas came to Boston for the first time in 2002. He only played four games that season. He made his first big impact in Boston during the 2005-2006 season after two seasons in Providence, and one in Finland. During his first full-time season in Boston, Thomas posted a 12–13–7 record, 2.77 (GAA), .917 save percentage and his first NHL shutout. Not the best year as far as statistics, but after all, Thomas was only called up that season because two goalies at the NHL level (Andrew Raycroft and Hannu Toivonen) were injured. Thomas started the 06-07 season as the starter in Providence. As Toivonen’s struggled to start the season, Thomas was then promoted from Providence and made the starter in Boston again. That’s when Tim Thomas’s success began in Boston.
During that 06-07 season , Thomas posted a 30–29–4 record with a .904 save percentage. He won the 7th Player Award for the second consecutive season and became the first goaltender in team history to win the award twice.
Thomas head Into the 07-08 season as the presumed backup to newly acquired Manny Fernandez. But just like the 05-06 season, an injury to Fernandez gave Thomas the opportunity to start. Needless to say, Thomas took the opportunity, ran with it, and never looked back. That year he was elected to the his first All Star game where he was actually credited with the win. Thomas would remain the starting goalie in Boston until his departure before the 2013 season.
Full time gig
Now as a full time starter going into the 08-09 season, Thomas was a force. That season was a good one for him. He became the first Bruins goalie to record back to back shutouts since Byron Dafoe in 1999. He was later selected to his second All Star team, and later recorded his 100th career win.
During the 09-10 season Thomas signed a long term deal to stay in Boston. Days later he recorded his fifth shutout of the season, a career high. That shutout helped the Bruins clinch the top spot in the Eastern Conference, awarding them the Prince of Wales Trophy. The Bruins were ousted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round of the playoffs a few weeks later.
The Vezina Trophy was awarded to Tim Thomas later that year in June. The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the best goalie in the league that season. Thomas led the league in GAA and save percentage that season.
Quest for a ring
In the 2010-2011 season Thomas broke the NHL record for save percentage, beating Dominik Hasek’s record of .937 with a .938 percentage. On April 22, 2011, Thomas was named a finalist for the 2010–11 Vezina Trophy, which he won on June 22.
On May 27, 2011, Thomas posted a shutout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, sending the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup appearance since 1990. In the Final, Thomas again posted a shutout victory in Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks. During the Bruins’ playoff run, he set the record for most saves in a single post-season with 798, and the most saves in a Stanley Cup series with 238. He also broke Frank McCool’s 66-year-old record of fewest goals allowed in a seven-game Stanley Cup Final, allowing only eight goals total (for an all-time record .967 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Finals). Thomas also became the first goaltender ever to post a shutout in a Game 7 on the road.
Final Days in Boston
The 2011-2012 season would be Tim Thomass last in Boston. But he went out on a high note. A personal one at least. Thomas was again selected to the NHL All Star game. This time as a starter after receiving the most votes from a goalie. The Bruins season was ended prematurely as they were knocked out of the playoffs by the Washington Capitols in the first round.
Shortly after the season ended, Thomas announced that he was going to sit out the 2012-2013 season. He was later traded to the New York Islanders in February of 2013, ending his time in Boston. The torch was now passed to Tuukka Rask to be the Bruins Starting goalie.
Featured image via WBUR