February 28, 2009
The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins played a game befitting of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference this afternoon: Gritty, exciting and unpredictable to the tune of three different Bruins' rallies to tie the game. But Alexander Semin's game-winner at 22 seconds of overtime was pure anti-climax: an 80-foot goal from beyond the blue line that trickled past Boston goalie Tim Thomas, who quickly bolted his crease in embarrassment:
What Tim Thomas saw on Alexander Semin's game-winning overtime goal: a long-distance shot that was about three feet off the ice before it ascended in mid-air. "From that far away, I should have it anyways," Thomas said. "But you don't expect that kind of stuff to happen."
Claude Julien's interpretation: a shot that should have been stopped.
"That last goal was a bad goal," Julien said. "He can say all the things that happened with the puck. But the bottom line is you should tell yourself, 'I should have had it. I didn't have it. Turn the page and let's move on.' He's given us too much to be worried about the negatives. He's been far better the other way. Simple as that."
Julien's absolutely right: There's no sugarcoating what was an awful goal surrendered by Thomas, but there's also no need to linger on it for a goalie that entered the game leading the NHL in goals against average (2.01) and save percentage (.934).
That said: Might a terrible goal like this, in a key late-season game, weigh on the minds of Vezina Trophy voters when it comes to Thomas? Or is a fluke sometimes just a fluke?