The Boston Bruins and their fans have a newfound appreciation for goaltenders.
The 2011 Stanley Cup champions weren't the most skilled team offensively nor the deepest defensively. They worked hard on both ends of the ice, and while there were many factors that led to the success, Tim Thomas is truly the reason the team was victorious.
Everyone in Boston now knows the difference a world-class goalie can make.
Of course, this is not the first time the Bruins have had a sturdy performer between the pipes. There is quite the long line of successful goalies in Boston. Let's take a look at the 15 best.
Tuukka Rask has only played two full seasons with the Boston Bruins, but he has already established himself as a promising goaltender for the future of this organization.
Arguably the most talented goaltending prospect the Bruins have ever had, Rask will have no trouble taking over for Tim Thomas once he retires. For now, the two form one of the most effective tandems the league has ever seen.
Pete Peeters had a brief but illustrious tenure with the Boston Bruins. In just three seasons with the team, Peeters racked up 91 regular-season victories, good for 11th all time in Boston history.
Peeters also won a Vezina Trophy in his very first season with the club.
Bill Ranford didn't spend a long time in Boston, but the legendary Oilers goaltender broke into the league with the Bruins and returned later in his career for another stint with the team.
Ran had three solid seasons with the Bruins, though none as successful as his time in Edmonton.
Don Simmons put together five solid seasons for the Bruins, posting 15 shutouts in Boston. Simmons would move on to have his greatest success with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the '60s.
Hal Winkler's time in Boston was very brief, but he dominated in the two seasons he spent in there. He had a combined goals-against average of 1.56.
Jim Henry wasn't blessed with playing on the most successful teams in Bruins history, but the talented netminder held down the fort though some tough seasons in Boston.
Henry posted 22 shutouts in his career, playing in more than 200 games for the Bruins.
Reggie Lemelin played a crucial role in leading the Boston Bruins to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1988. He and Andy Moog also formed a dynamic duo and took home the 1990 William M. Jennings Trophy.
Gilles Gilbert had the unenviable task of replacing Gerry Cheevers but did not fare half bad in that task. Gilbert took the Bruins back to the Stanley Cup Finals and recorded 155 wins to go along with his 16 career shutouts.
Later on, Cheevers returned to the Bruins and teamed up with Gilbert to form a dangerous tandem.
Eddie Johnston gets lost in the shuffle when talking about the great Bruins teams of the 1970s. Gerry Cheevers got a lot of the glory, but Johnston played a huge role in bringing multiple Stanley Cups to Bean Town.
Johnston finished his Bruins career with 27 shutouts and 180 victories to his name.
The Bruins caught some flack for dealing Tiny Thompson to the Red Wings in 1938, but Frank Brimsek helped them quickly forget the star goaltender by blossoming into an elite player himself.
Brimsek is second only to Thompson in wins and shutouts and brought the Stanley Cup to Boston once as well. Of course, the team around him and level of competition back then keep him from cracking the top five on my list.
Byron Dafoe was able to accomplish so much with so little talent around him in the late 1990s into the 2000s.
For his career in Boston, Dafoe managed a .911 save percentage with a 2.30 goals-against average and 132 victories. He was damn impressive in net.
Tiny Thompson is the Bruins' all-time leader in wins (252) and shutouts (74). He also helped Boston win its first ever Stanley Cup title. His 1.99 career goals-against average for the Black and Gold was astounding as well.
Andy Moog is one of the most underrated NHL goaltenders of all time. He led the Bruins to four conference finals appearances and two trips to the Stanley Cup.
Let's remember that Moog played during an era where Wayne Gretzky and then Mario Lemieux were busy dominating the NHL. Had Moog played in any other generation, he could have won multiple Cups.
Tim Thomas is on his way to becoming the greatest goaltender in Boston Bruins history. It is tough to believe he can maintain his unbelievable level of production, though Thomas has made a living at defying the odds.
Possibly one of the greatest read-and-react goaltenders the game has ever seen, Thomas has put up mind-boggling statistics and carried the Bruins to a Stanley Cup.
A few more solid seasons to round out his career, and Thomas will be sitting atop this list.
Gerry Cheever gets a slight nod over Tim Thomas because he won multiple Stanley Cups with the Bruins. His numbers may not have been as dazzling, but the '70s were a different era of hockey. In today's game, shutouts are more rampant and save percentages are through the roof.
Cheevers, meanwhile, is third all time in Bruins history with 229 wins. He did that while splitting duty for a good chunk of his career.