Did you see the Tim Thomas gem Saturday night? Well, actually, it was no surprise, the Boston goaltender has done it repeatedly for his team this season. As you may know already, he stopped 39 of 41 Washington Capitals shots on goal. The astounding part of that stat is 26 of Washington’s shots came in the third period. Is there any question, Thomas is the leading candidate for Most Valuable Player status thus far in the National Hockey League? The answer is a resounding, no! Thank you for agreeing with me.
Thomas may need to do it again against the likes of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne, Bobby Ryan, Saku Koivu, and Jason Blake, as they are in Boston for one night and one night only. They, and their Anaheim Ducks teammates, visit TD Garden tonight to take on your Boston Bruins. The Ducks are in third place in the National Hockey League’s Pacific division just one point behind the second place San Jose Sharks and in eighth place overall in the NHL’s Western conference. The Bruins currently reside in second place in the Northeast division and in eighth place in the Eastern conference. Each team has accumulated thirty-eight points. The Ducks are in the midst of a two game losing streak while the B’s, losers of two games last week, defeated Washington (thank you, Tim Thomas) Saturday night.
The Ducks and the Bruins have somewhat mirrored each other this season as they have lost games they should not have lost and won some games they, perhaps should not have, while at other times, they have looked like world beaters. The difference between the two clubs being that the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007 and have the above mentioned nucleus of players remaining from that ’07 team. Boston does not have any players remaining from their last Stanley Cup winning team because, as some of us can remember, that parade took place in 1972.
Tonight’s game should be an interesting one. Each organization is trying to regain its winning ways. Anaheim is trying to do that with a high powered offense led by Perry and Getzlaf. The Bruins, at least for the last few weeks, seem to be relying solely on Thomas.
Tonight’s game could be the final visit to Boston for Ducks winger, Teemu Selanne, who is in the final year of his contract. Chosen 10th overall in the 1988 NHL draft, the “Finnish Flash” from Helsinki has played in 1,213 NHL games and has amassed 616 goals and 672 assists for 1,288 points while playing for Anaheim, Colorado, San Jose, and the Winnipeg Jets. Selanne, as you can see, has scored more than one point per game during his career. Not only has he won the Stanley Cup, the sniper has also won the 1993 Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year, the 1999 Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer that season, and the Masterton Trophy awarded for dedication and perseverance to the game. Selanne has also played in ten all star games and was named the all star game MVP in 1998. I am not a gambler but it’s a pretty safe bet that the 40 year old Selanne will be a first ballot hall of famer. It would be a very classy move if Bruins fans showed their appreciation to Selanne for bringing his immense talents to the NHL.
The schedule does not get easier for the Bruins. The much improved Atlanta Thrashers will be in town Thursday night. Led by this season’s number one candidate for the Norris Trophy (best defenseman), Justin Byfuglien, who has thirty-three points in thirty-four games, the Thrashers currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern conference. If the Bruins do not show marked improvement, it will be up to Tim Thomas to hold the fort against former Bruin assistant coach and present Thrasher head coach Craig Ramsey’s team.
Bruins Nation, let’s hope Saturday’s 3rd period woes do not carry over to either, or both, games this week. Tim Thomas is a great goaltender but he still needs the assistance from his teammates to be able to win games. We know he is capable of shutting down other teams just as he did against the Capitals, but the rest of the Boston Bruins need to get it into gear and play up to their capabilities. There is pressure on this team to produce now. Sports fans in Boston see the New England Patriots as very strong Super Bowl contenders, the Boston Celtics are riding a 13 game undefeated streak and may return to the National Basketball Association’s finals for the second year in a row, and the Boston Red Sox recently signed two of the top three free agents in baseball. The Bruins need to get on a roll or they will become Boston’s irrelevant team and it will be a very long winter in Beantown.
Remember to go to http://vote.nhl.com/ and vote for Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and David Krejci, for the 2011 NHL All Star Game.
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Tags: All Star Games Anaheim Anaheim Ducks Atlanta Thrashers Beantown Bobby Ryan Boston Boston Celtics Boston Red Sox Calder Trophy Colorado Corey Perry Craig Ramsey David Krejci Dustin Byfuglien Eastern Conference Finnish Flash Hall Of Fame Helsinki Jason Blake Masterton Trophy Most Valuable Player MVP National Basketball Association National Hockey League New England Patriots NHL Norris Trophy Northeast Division Pacific Division Patrice Bergeron Rocket Richard Trophy Ryan Getzlaf Saku Koivu San Jose Sharks Stanley Cup Super Bowl TD Garden Teemu Selanne Tim Thomas Washington Capitals Western Conference Winnipeg Jets Zdeno Chara