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McKenzie: Thomas delivers strong performance for Bruins

Bob McKenzie
5/24/2011 12:45:50 AM
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Some thoughts from the NHL on TSN panel on Monday night:

Early in Monday night's Game 5 between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, there was no question that the Lightning had come to play.

Everything they threw at the Bruins' net Tim Thomas was able to save, or so it seemed.

Then as the game wore on, in the third period Thomas made the save of the playoffs, as he absolutely robbed Steve Downie.

I don't how many times a goaltender makes a save with his face facing the back of the net, but I guarantee Thomas sets the world record for doing it. Thomas was stellar in this hockey game.

Thomas has been very erratic in these playoffs, up and down sometimes in the same game, but this was a complete game for Thomas, he was terrific.

The Benefit Of Depth

What other team could lose a point man like Christian Ehrhoff, who was manning the point on the number one power play for the Vancouver Canucks, and replace him with a guy like Sami Salo and get such an impact?

Salo got the assist of Ryan Kesler's first five-on-three goal and then after that, it's bombs away. The Finnish defenceman who has a rocket from the blue line had back-to-back five-on-three goals. He figured in on all three of those five-on-three goals scored in less than two minutes and that again speaks to the depth of the Canucks' defence.

Ehrhoff is out with a minor shoulder injury and there is talk that maybe he could come back for Game 5, but if he can't, then you have Salo able to come in.

Salo has almost been the forgotten man this year. With the Achilles injury, people wondered when and if he would be back in time for the playoffs, so to be able to put a guy like him on your first power play without missing a beat, that's depth.

Possible Turning Point

The Canucks were taking lots of penalties in the first period of Game 4. While they didn't like a lot of calls, Raffi Torres took a gratuitous shot at Douglas Murray. It was a charging penalty and it could have come back to bite the Canucks, but it didn't because the power play for San Jose didn't work.

Then in the third period, Torres saw Joe Thornton in a vulnerable spot and gave it to him. It was a legal check but Thornton went down and banged up his shoulder.

Right now, he expects to play in Game 5 in Vancouver, but how effective is he going to be?

This could be a huge turning point in the series and it could have been a negative turning point if Torres' penalty in the first period led to a power play goal that got San Jose on their way. Instead, he comes up with a big hit on Thornton that may take the best player from San Jose and at least minimize his effectiveness.

Bob McKenzie

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