The Boston Bruins no longer hope Tim Thomas will bail out their team -- they've come to expect it.
Boston must earn its goals with muscle and hustle, a grind-it-out, physical brand of hockey that takes time to establish. Yet the very nature of the Stanley Cup finals is one of urgency, especially when your team is trailing 2-1 in the series and Game 4 is a must-win situation.
Your opponent is known for fleet-footed skaters, talented high-octane scorers who specialize in quick strikes.
This would be a problem if your goaltender was someone other than Tim Thomas.
Thomas has evolved as the most reliable component of the Cup finals, the sure thing, the redoubtable backstop, the player who has provided the Bruins with a decided edge that will serve them well as they return to Vancouver after a convincing 4-0 shutout Wednesday night.
Funny. You'd never know Thomas turned back 38 shots. You'd never know he has given up just one goal in the past two games and only five goals for the series.
Tim Thomas as a dominant goalie? The Vancouver Canucks aren't signing off on that, at least not publicly.