There were under two minutes to play and the Boston Bruins were well on their way to a 4-0 Game 4 victory to even the Stanley Cup at two games when Tim Thomas(notes) took exception to the Vancouver Canucks continuing to make contact with the butt end of his stick.
Alex Burrows was the last Canuck to do so, giving it a good chop, and felt the wrath of Thomas with a slash to the back of the Vancouver forwards leg and a few gloved punches:
When asked about Thomas' on-ice behavior, Alain Vigneault shied away from answering hours after the Canucks coach said that the team spoke with the NHL about the aggressive style of the Boston netminder.
Thomas explained his side during the postgame press conference:
"They'd been getting the butt end of my stick actually. They did it a couple of times on the power play in the first period also. I don't know who it was, I was focused on the puck. That was like the third time that he'd hit my butt end on that power play. On 6-4, we were up 4-0, the game was getting down toward the end, so I thought I'd give him a little love tap and let him know, I know what you're doing, but I'm not going to let you do it forever. So that's all that was. It was a typical battle."
Trying to take Thomas off of his game by getting physical hasn't worked and likely won't work for the Canucks. An emotional netminder, Thomas seems to feed off of that energy and has now led the Bruins to make the Final a best-of-three series.