|Bruins goalie Tim Thomas makes a save with Canucks forward Ryan Kesler looking for a rebound. (Getty)|
BOSTON -- While there will be many marquee matchups to look forward to when the Boston Bruins take on the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals, perhaps none will be greater than the looming duel between two of the best netminders in the NHL.
With Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo set to square off in a battle between two of the nominees for this year's Vezina Trophy, there's plenty of star power between the pipes for both clubs. But if you ask Thomas, while the two will be vying for victory for their respective clubs, it's hardly a head-to-head matchup between the two stud goalies.
"It's Vancouver versus Boston, it’s not me versus [Roberto] Luongo," Thomas said. "He’s a part of their team and I’m a part of my team and we both have an impact on how the game goes. But I’m playing against Vancouver’s forwards and defensemen and he’s playing against Boston’s forwards and defensemen.
"Having said that, I watched the last game he played there against San Jose and he looked real good. He looked like he was on his game. Since having seen that, I know I’m going to have to do a good job to give our team a chance."
Thomas is 3-0-0 with two shutouts and a paltry 0.33 goals-against average against the Canucks, but he puts zero stock in his regular-season numbers versus any squad.
"It really has no relevance," said Thomas. "It’s kind of like why did I have pretty good success against Ottawa? You know, there’s probably one other team or something that I’ve (had that kind of success against), well Philadelphia in Philadelphia.
"You know there’s no rhyme or reason to it, it just happens to be the way it’s worked out. But there is no use dwelling on the success you’ve had before because what success you can have moving forward here over the next couple of games is what’s going to be important."
After 18 grueling playoff tilts, many wonder if the 37-year-old Thomas might be a little worn down after a season in which he appeared in 57 games for Boston, but the veteran netminder is hardly worried about running out of gas.
"Well you keep doing the same thing you’ve done all year, but you’ve just got to keep it going," he said. "You start training for this moment last summer. And you know, it’s a build up and then during the season you’ve just got to stick with your routine and never let yourself fall behind. Because once you fall behind, it’s too hard to catch up."
Fully energized and ready to thrive on the biggest stage of his career, Thomas knows full that -- at his age -- there's a slim chance he gets this kind of opportunity ever again.
"Well, it’s great and it’s where you’ve wanted to be," he said. "This is what I’ve worked for my whole life, you know, to get to this point in the Stanley Cup. And so it’s a big accomplishment. But you don’t dream of getting to the Stanley Cup Finals, you dream of winning the Stanley Cup. So there’s still more work to be done."