Boston Bruins: Tim Thomas Is Back and Nathan Horton Is Still on Fire

Ryan PickardCorrespondent IOctober 22, 2010

BOSTON - OCTOBER 21:  TIm Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins tends net against the Washington Capitals at the TD Garden on October 21, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeated the Capitals 4-1.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

All of those who thought that Tim Thomas was on the downside of his career, raise your hand.

I'm sure most of you, myself included, thought Thomas was going to be an afterthought this season. He was going to finally take a back seat to Tuukka Rask, who took over the starting job from Thomas last season.

Having Timmy as a backup wasn't that bad of an idea. Having a backup goalie that won the Vezina Trophy just two years ago isn't something many teams can say, but the fact that he is making $5 million a year was a little scary considering he might play only 20 to 25 games a year. This isn't exactly getting your money's worth.

Thomas has shown us though this year that he is anything but an afterthought. After Rask got the start in the first game of the year, Thomas stepped in and has won his first four starts of the year. He has posted a shutout against the Phoenix Coyotes and has yet to give up more than one goal in all of his starts.

So far Thomas has a .978 save percentage and a ridiculous 0.75 goals against average, both of which are good for second in the league behind Robin Lehner of Ottawa, who has played just 34 minutes all year.

After Thomas' Vezina-winning year during the 2008-09 season, Peter Chiarelli decided to throw the big bucks to Thomas, giving him a four-year, $20 million deal. At the time this may have looked like an okay deal, but soon many people started questioning it, especially after Timmy's performance last year, when he was surpassed for the starting job.

So far this year he has lived up to his contract and has shown that even at the ripe age of 36, he still has a lot left in the tank. If he is able to keep this up, Tuukka will have to wait in line again, but I'm sure the Bruins management has no problem with this. What team wouldn't want two No. 1 goaltenders?

The only question the Bruins will face now is if Thomas keeps this play up, do they trade him to free up some cap space, which will be needed once Marco Sturm and Marc Savard return to the team? But that is for another day.

Now it's time to take a look at Nathan Horton, who has been on fire as of late and been one of the Bruins' best players.

Horton, who came over to the team this past offseason from Florida through the trade that sent Dennis Wideman and the 15th overall pick to the Panthers, leads the team in goals scored with four and points with seven. He has had the offensive production the Bruins so desperately needed last season and has been a big part of their success so far this year.

Horton has been playing on a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, and the three have shown great chemistry together, combining for eight goals and 18 points between the trio. For the Bruins, they couldn't have asked for any more, as Horton has had an immediate impact and looks as though he has rejuvenated his career after watching his numbers dwindle in his last couple of years in Florida.