In the last five minutes Monday night, Tim Thomas stood on his head. As a result, the Bruins turned their entire world upside down.
Six-game playoff losing streak? Over.
Five-game losing streak in Montreal. Done.
Now, instead of preparing for a premature funeral, the Bruins can even the series and reclaim home-ice advantage with a victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 tonight at the Bell Centre.
“The team needed it, and I needed it,” Thomas said after making 34 saves — 14 in the third period — in a 4-2 victory in Game 3. “It was a necessary win. You’re down 2-0, and playing in Montreal is never easy. It was a gut-check for us. We got the job done.”
Even the manner in which the Bruins propelled themselves back into the series was a reversal of fortune. It was the Bruins who scored early and often, getting on the board 3 minutes, 11 seconds into the game and taking a 2-0 lead after the first period.
“The shoe was on the other foot,” Thomas said. “We scored early and it makes a big difference. We didn’t want to make the mistake of starting the way we did in the first two games.”
And it was Thomas, who looked less than stellar over the first two games, who came up Vezina-style huge in the final five minutes of Game 3.
“He made some big saves,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “The fact he was able to do that shows a lot of character. A goaltender could have just had negative thoughts in his mind and not been sharp in the end. For him to do what he did showed he was willing to redeem himself.”