But he may not have made the best save in the Bruins' net in Game 5. That honor belonged to Michael Ryder, as the Bruins forward got a chance to return to his goaltending roots in one memorable sequence in the first period.
With 11:53 left in the opening frame and the game scoreless, the Canadiens threatened with an odd-man break. Michael Cammalleri broke down the right side, and when Thomas came out to challenge him, Cammalleri tucked a pass around the netminder to Tomas Plekanec in front. Plekanec should have had a wide-open net to shoot at, but Ryder stood guard in the crease, and flashed a glove to knocked Plekanec's shot aside and keep the game scoreless.
"I don't know," Ryder said of how he ended up in position to make the save. "It was something like a 2-on-1, 3-on-1, and our D went over and they just made a pass in front and I knew Timmy was out of position and I tried blocking any way I can, and ended up getting the glove on it."
Ryder may not have known how he ended up facing down Plekanec, but he knew what to do thanks to some experience in net as a youth, albeit away from the ice.
"Ball hockey, not ice hockey," Ryder said of his netminding experience. "Well, when I was a kid I did but my dad made me stop and said I had to play out [at forward]."
That switch has paid off for Ryder, most recently when he ended the Bruins' previous game with an overtime winner in Game 4 in Montreal. But the early work as a ball hockey goalie came in handy as well.
"You say you don't practice it much, but according to him he did because he played goal for his ball hockey club," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "So he said that was a natural instinct of his. To be serious about this, this is something that just shows some desperation. He knew where he was, he knew what he had to do and he just desperately made the move. And kudos to him for doing that and certainly not something you practice but desperation makes you do a lot of things."
Ryder's save was the most memorable, but he was far from the only Bruin skater willing to sacrifice his body to get in the way of Montreal shots. The Bruins had 21 blocked shots as a team, with Dennis Seidenberg leading the way with six.
That's not surprising since Seidenberg had a team-high 174 blocked shots during the regular season. What is a little startling is that 11 of Boston's blocked shots on Saturday came from forwards, led by Milan Lucic's four.
"That is what we need," center Patrice Bergeron said. "We need those blocks and those plays. It is the playoffs and you have to find a way to do whatever to keep them out of your net and to score some goals as well."
Bergeron combined with Zdeno Chara for another key blocked shot, covering for Thomas with 6:15 left in the first overtime to deny Cammalleri.
"Yeah it was kind of a broken play," Bergeron said. "I knew it was going to go back in front. It just went through my skates and I just desperately tried to block it and I think it hit me and hit Zee also. I'm not sure, yeah so I blocked it and it would have went through. It was a great desperate play."
There were plenty of desperate plays made by the Bruins, who did everything in their power to squeak out their third straight win and take a lead in the series for the first time at 3-2.
"I think when you're in the playoffs you always have to have a sense of desperation and you've got to be willing to sacrifice yourself in order to give your team the best chance possible to win," Julien said. "Our guys right now are not afraid to block shots and do what it takes. Like I said, I think we had everybody buying in tonight and it was a hard-fought game."
A hard-fought game with 94 official saves, and another even more memorable one from a forward.
"That was a great save," Thomas said of Ryder's stop. "He probably now knows what it's like to be one of the old goalies without a mask more than I do."
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