Every now and then, a stat falls into place so perfectly it almost seems predestined. That’s how it felt to see Tim Thomas’ total of 36 saves in the Boston Bruins’ 5-2 Game 6 beating of the Vancouver Canucks.
In case you weren’t keeping track of somewhat obscure (but far from irrelevant) playoff records, those 36 saves put Thomas in a tie with former Canucks goalie Kirk McLean for the most saves in a single playoff run. Both Thomas and McLean managed 761 saves in their impressive postseason outputs.
Interestingly enough, Thomas and McLean also earned those 761 saves in 24 games played. Their overall numbers are a little different (Thomas has a .937 save percentage and 2.07 GAA while McLean had a .928 save percentage and 2.29 GAA), but they both helped their teams reach unexpectedly higher levels. A lot of times it’s easy to downplay a great goaltending run by saying that the netminder benefited from superlative defense. Thomas and McLean’s workloads (and impressive stats) show that they simply transcended the numerous challenges they faced.
Barring a rather stunning calamity, Thomas will pass McLean for that record very early in Game 7 (and probably cushion his lead with about 20-30 saves if he plays well). It doesn’t take an expert to say that Thomas hopes to surpass his busy predecessor in another more important way, though: he hopes to be on the winning end of a Stanley Cup finals Game 7 instead.