Tim Thomas amazes Corvo, McQuaid

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Just as his teammates did, Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas started the season slowly, going just 3-4-0 in the opening month.

But after a 34-save performance in the Bruins' 6-3 win at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, Thomas looks like the goalie who had a hot start last season and never looked back as he won the Vezina Trophy and the Conn Smythe while leading his team to the Stanley Cup.

Thomas is in that Vezina zone again after completing a perfect November, when he was 9-0-0 with three shutouts, a 1.76 GAA and a .941 save percentage. His nine straight victories established a career best, and he seems to be ready to embark on another historic campaign.

Thomas' teammates have grown accustomed to such greatness from the well-traveled and late-blooming 37-year-old goalie. On Friday, defensemen Adam McQuaid and Joe Corvo said that sometimes they take for granted the ongoing greatness of Thomas, who is 12-4-0 with a 1.93 G.A.A. and .936 save percentage entering Saturday's game against the Leafs.

When McQuaid was asked if he appreciates what Thomas has done and is doing, he said, "Maybe not as much as we should because you're in it and you're in the moment.

"I'm guessing [Thomas would] probably say the same thing but when you do sit back and think about it or the situation is brought to your attention you're like ‘Wow!' But probably when the season is said and done, we'll have time to really reflect on it then and realize we're part of history and have been part of history. That's something for sure you'll look back on. It's an amazing feat for him to just add to all he's accomplished.

"It's been a honor to play in front of him and when it's time to reflect back like I said, it's going to be cool to say I was part of this or other stuff he's accomplished and witnessed it first-hand."

For Corvo, playing with Thomas instead of against him has been a privilege. Corvo didn't realize that Thomas was undefeated in November, but it didn't surprise him. Corvo said Thomas has probably been better than advertised.

"It's pretty impressive what he does on a nightly basis," Corvo said. "Especially in the shootouts, he just seems to know the moves he needs to make to make the saves and it's incredible."

Corvo said if he or his teammates make mistakes, they have confidence that Thomas will be there to save the day.

"He has been great and our backbone during this stretch," Corvo said. "You just notice even when ... they get a breakaway, he makes the save and you're just so relieved and then confident that he's there for you."

McQuaid echoed the sentiments of Corvo, and defended the unorthodox style of his goaltender.

"There's times I'm just outside the paint and I feel a bump on the back of my leg and it's Timmy coming up to back me up. ... Other goalies may not do that, but hey, if it gets the job done, who cares?" McQuaid said. "All I know is we can depend on Timmy -- and [backup goalie] Tuukka [Rask] too -- but we know nine out of 10 times, he's making those big saves."

For Bruins coach Claude Julien, life is much easier when his goalie is playing the way he is because Thomas is always there to minimize the damage of his teammates' mistakes.

"Timmy's just been so good and he's confident and as solid as can be," Julien said. "But like I said -- and I'm sure Timmy would say the same thing -- the guys in front of him do a pretty good job of trying to at least give Timmy a good sense of what's going to happen.

"But once in a while there's breakdowns and Timmy comes up big. He's been so good for us and such a valuable asset to our team. Whenever he's in nets, there's a lot of confidence -- and that's not to say we don't have the same for Tuukka -- but here's a guy who's won a couple of Vezina Trophies and stuff like that. He's certainly makes you feel a lot better when he's in nets and especially when he's at the top of his game, he's a hard goaltender to beat that can certainly get into other teams' heads and we've seen that in the past."