Stanley Cup Finals: Tim Thomas Does Little to Help Boston Bruins' Defensemen

Eric SylvesterContributor IJune 5, 2011

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 04:  Alex Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks gets chased by Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins as goalie Tim Thomas #30 falls to the ice during overtime in Game Two of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 4, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals was a near polar opposite from Game 1. The play was faster and more fluid, with less lazy icing calls. Referees put away the whistles and let the teams hit, battle and scrap. The Sedin twins showed up with some masterful play, a stark contrast to their anemic play in Game 1.

The biggest difference in the two games, however? The Bruins defense came up big for Tim Thomas. After such a lackluster performance in Game 1 that forced Thomas to be spectacular, he got plenty of crease clearing support last night.  

And Thomas needed every bit of the defensive support he received.  

Tim Thomas' trademark style of aggression, making saves outside the crease and unorthodox form, led to four different instances of loose pucks with wide open nets that the Vancouver Canucks' forwards were able to jump on. And four different times Bruins' defensemen were up to the task of stopping shots from crossing the open goal line.

Tim Thomas got the kind of support he desperately needed in the first game, but left his defense out to dry in the eleven second overtime period.

Sure, Andrew Ference made an ill-advised pass to start the overtime period. Sure, Zdeno Chara was playing way too wide, which led to a wide open outlet pass to Burrows. Sure, the backcheck from the Bruins defense seemed a little passive.

But the fact remains: Tim Thomas lunged at Burrows, who was handcuffed to the forehand with the long reach of Zdeno Chara forcing him to keep the puck wide on his forehand. Burrows had two options: shoot short side or five-hole, or wrap around behind the net. If Thomas stays vertical in the butterfly on the right side of the net, he seals off the shot and is in position to cut off the wraparound.  

Instead? He negates the hard work put in by the Boston D-men all game with one ill-advised lunge at the puck.