The Stars are fighting for their playoff lives and just lost their starting goalie to injury, yet nobody’s freaking out.
Because their No. 2 goalie isn’t a run-of-the-mill backup.
It’s Tim Thomas, acquired last Wednesday in a trade deadline deal with Florida. The 40-year-old, less than three years removed from winning the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP during Boston’s Stanley Cup championship, is now primed to be Dallas’ No. 1 after Kari Lehtonen suffered a concussion on this nasty collision with Minnesota forward Erik Haula:
Kari Lehtonen is “not doing very well” with a head injury , according to Lindy Ruff. Listed as day to day.
— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) March 9, 2014
Looks like Thomas will be the guy in goal for the next while. Ruff — who, prior to Lehtonen getting hurt, suggested that Thomas would get a shot at the No. 1 gig anyway — knows what Thomas brings to the table, and is excited to see it.
“He’s not your conventional type of goaltender, but we knew that going in,” Ruff told the Dallas Morning-News. “He’s a battler, he’s athletic. He’s been in the fire before and knows how to handle it, and that experience can help us.”
The big question now is, how much can Dallas rely on Timmy?
He was a workhorse at times for Florida this season, serving as the Panthers’ goalie of record for nearly a full month straight:
So, it stands to reason he’s ready for Dallas’ stretch drive. The Stars play 11 times over the next 19 days, including back-to-backs tonight (vs. Columbus) and tomorrow (vs. St. Louis), then on Mar. 28-29 against the Preds and Blues.
Dallas GM Jim Nill said he made the Thomas deal because the Stars are “serious about making the playoffs and making a statement in the playoffs.” And Ruff knows the importance of postseason goaltending, as his deepest runs in Buffalo came on the strength of outstanding performances by Dominik Hasek (’99 Stanley Cup Final) and Ryan Miller (’06 and ’07 Conference Finals).
So, they made the move expecting Thomas to play a role — maybe not one this big, but a role nonetheless. As for Thomas, he says he’s just excited to be part of the playoff chase.
“The intensity … it’s fun to be a part of,” he said. “To me, it makes it easier to play.”